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Arcata man found guilty by jury of felony possession of weapons, burglary tools, drugs

RAFAEL MARTINEZ, 42

An Arcata man was found guilty Wednesday by jury and convicted on a slew of charges including carrying weapons, burglary tools and a heroin-loaded syringe, according to the Humboldt County District Attorney (DA).

On Feb. 7, a Humboldt County jury found 42-year-old Rafael Martinez guilty of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, burglar’s tools, and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, according to the DA. The California penal code and jury instructions define a “dirk or dagger” as “a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. A small folding knife with the blade unexposed is not considered a dirk or dagger."

Following the trial, visiting Judge Graham Cribbs confirmed the allegation that the defendant previously had been convicted of robbery, a prior conviction considered a “strike” under California law, the DA said.

On Nov. 16, 2017, Arcata Police Department (APD) Officer Tim Jaegel recognized Martinez walking in Arcata, the DA said. The officer confirmed Martinez was on multiple misdemeanor grants of probation for prior theft convictions and subject to search by law enforcement. Officer Jaegel’s subsequent search of the defendant revealed a fixed-bladed knife concealed in his interior jacket pocket. The defendant also reportedly had 12 shaved keys commonly used to burglarize vehicles and homes, as well as a methamphetamine pipe and a syringe loaded with heroin.

Martinez is scheduled for sentencing on March 23. Felony possession of a dirk or dagger carries a maximum sentence of three years and the strike prior could double that penalty, according to the DA. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Trenton Timm.

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