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Man Convicted Of Smuggling Meth In Religious Art Headed To Prison

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A Mexican citizen who had been living in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood is headed to jail after being convicted of smuggling meth in the frames of religious artwork.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 31-year-old Carmelo Rojas-Perez, a native of Toluca, Mexico, was sentenced in federal court to 60 months in jail and five years of supervision.

Rojas-Perez will also be deported back to Mexico after he serves his prison sentence.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reports Rojas-Perez received two framed religious pictures that contained nearly one kilogram of meth. The frames had been hollowed out to conceal the drugs.

Before getting those to pictures, officials say he first received a "test" package that didn't have any drugs.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office says one of the paintings depicted the Virgin Mary with three children around her.

Authorities say they also seized Rojas-Perez's cell phone on which they found text messages and photos of "apparent drugs on top of piles of money."

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the meth seized in the bust had a street value of between $22,000 and $45,000.

According to court paper work, Rojas-Perez entered the country illegally in 1993.

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