An Ashe County man has been convicted by a Charlotte jury who returned a guilty verdict Friday against  Martin Martinez Saldana,  44,  of  West  Jefferson,  following  a  four  day  trial,  according to Anne  M. Tompkins,  U.S.  Attorney  for  the  Western  District  of  North  Carolina.  Saldana was convicted of  conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute  methamphetamine and possession of an illegal short-barreled shotgun. U.S.  Attorney  Tompkins  and  Sheriff  James  Williams  of  the  Ashe  County  Sheriff’s  Office along with many other agencies made the announcement.  According  to  court  documents  and  evidence  introduced  at  trial,  from  as  early  as  2011 through  the  end  of  2012,  Saldana  and  his  co-conspirators  distributed  in  Ashe  County  and elsewhere  more  than  20  pounds  of  near-pure  crystal  methamphetamine,  also  known as “ice.” According  to  trial evidence,  the  high  level  of  purity  of  the  methamphetamine  indicates it originated  from a Mexican “super lab” and  had  an estimated  street-level  value  of more than $1million.  The  evidence  at  trial  also  established  that  when  law  enforcement  executed  a  search warrant at  Saldana’s residence  they  seized  four handguns, including a revolver  hidden  under  his mattress, and  an illegal  short-barreled shotgun, as well as ammunition. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement  also  seized  five  real  properties  in  Ashe County worth over $500,000  combined,  $50,000  in  cash,  one  vehicle,  one-quarter  kilogram of  methamphetamine “ice”  and  drug packaging materials.  Among the seized items  also  were  three  images of Santa Muerte, who has been adopted by drug traffickers as folk “patron saint.” Law enforcement arrested Saldana on  December 12, 2012,  as  he  was planning to leave for Mexico. He has  been in federal custody since  his arrest and  will remain in custody  until his sentencing date, which has not yet been set.  The charges levied against Saldana carry a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000,000.