A “NARCO SAINT” revered by Mexican drug traffickers has become a hot seller in city botanicas, sharing shelf space with the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Michael the Archangel. Shop owners in Brooklyn and Queens say they’re selling out of prayer cards and candles featuring Jesus Malverde, a 19th-century folk hero who supposedly wards off law enforcement. The icon is so closely associated with the drug trade across the border that U.S. prosecutors have been using it as evidence in narcotics cases. “People come here to buy him for an altar for their home,” said Carlos Horiuchi, 31, who runs the La Guadalupana gift shop in Elmhurst, Queens. “I think they sell marijuana, or maybe they just smoke it. I never ask people why. I just sell him to them.” The mythical Robin Hood-type figure obviously isn’t recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, but that hasn’t stopped his popularity from spreading from Mexico to New York. Horiuchi sells an array of items, from $1 prayer cards to $160 statues of Malverde in his signature white shirt and red necktie, a pile of pesos under his left arm and a stack of bills in his right hand. He has… Read full this story
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