Cult Leader Slain In Gunbattle BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - The ringleader of a drug smugglin

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Cult Leader Slain In Gunbattle BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - The ringleader of a drug smuggling cult that killed 15 people has been slain in a gunbattle with Mexico City police and his girlfriend has been captured, police said Saturday. Cameron County sheriff's Lt. George Gavito said Mexican authorities told U.S. investigators Saturday night that cult leader Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, 26, was killed and that police have arrested Sara Aldrete, a 24-year-old former Texas college student described as the ``witch'' of the cult. ``They have confirmed that Adolfo is dead and Sara has been arrested,'' Gavito said. The two had been sought in an international manhunt and are suspected of being the masterminds in a cult that killed 15 people in a series of ritualistic sacrifices and drug-related slayings. Another man involved in the cult, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, also was killed in the shootout at a Mexico City residence about 4:30 p.m., said Cameron County Sheriff Alex Perez. Gavito said he spoke on the telephone with Ms. Aldrete, who is in police custody in Mexico City, for about five minutes Saturday night, but he would not divulge details of the conversation. Mexico City police confirmed that two people were killed during a shootout Saturday afternoon in a supermarket and that their identity was in question. But police would not confirm that Constanzo had been killed in the shootout. The attorney general's office in Mexico's Federal District would not immediately confirm the story. ``We don't know anything about it,'' Luis Gomez Saenz told The Associated Press by telephone Saturday night. Constanzo, 26, and Ms. Aldrete, 24, had been charged with aggravated kidnapping by Cameron County authorities and are believed to have directed human sacrifices, mutilations and the boiling of brains and other organs in rituals to bring occult protection for their drug-smuggling ring. The ring and its macabre activities was discovered when authorities unearthed 15 bodies buried west of the border city of Matamoros, Mexico, beginning on April 11. Constanzo and Ms. Aldrete, missing since the first 12 bodies were uncovered April 11, are among 11 people indicted in the United States on a four-count drug indictment. Four of the five men in custody in Matamoros said the cult leaders were Constanzo and Ms. Aldrete. The pair flew from McAllen to Mexico City on April 11, officials have said. In the Mexican capital, the investigation led to searches of residences where occult altars were found. AP-NY-05-07-89 0020 EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Satanic Cult People Questioned MEXICO CITY (AP) - Police grilled five members of a drug-smuggling satanic cult Monday about their role in the ritual slaying of 15 people along the U.S. border and whether other ring members still are at large, a police source said. ``The city attorney general's office is also trying to determine if the five committed any federal crimes and if they should be tried in a city court or a federal district court,'' he added. The source, at the Mexico City attorney general's office, spoke in a telephone interview on condition of anonymity. He said the five - including cult ``witch'' Sara Aldrete Villarreal, 24, - were under heavy guard in Miguel Hidalgo district police station on the capital's west side. They were arrested in Mexico City after a gunfight Saturday in which cult ``godfather'' Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo ordered a cult member to shoot him and his right-hand man as police moved in. Their hideout lay a few blocks from the U.S. and British embassies. Constanzo, 26, a Cuban-born resident of Florida, and Ms. Aldrete, his Mexican companion, were sought on both sides of the border after police discovered bodies of cult victims buried at a ranch in Matamoros on April 11. Authorities said the rituals were meant to bring occult protection to the ring, which trafficked mostly in marijuana to the United States. Among those sacrified was Mark Kilroy, 21, a University of Texas pre-med student. Mexican authorities said Constanzo and Ms. Aldrete, a former honor student at Texas Southmost College, directed the human sacrifices and other rituals. The other four arrested were identified as Maria del Rocio Cuevas Guerra, 43, of Mexico City; Omar Francisco Orea, 23, a journalism student at the National University who met Constanzo six years ago when Constanzo invited him to take part in black magic; Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22, another Mexican, and Maria de Lourdes Guero Lopez, 29, whose connection to the case was not clear. All five were booked on charges of homicide, criminal association, wounding a police agent during the arrest, and property damage. Fausto Popoca, a spokesman for the city attorney general, said in a telephone interview Monday they will be formally arraigned shortly. Officials examined the bodies of Constanzo and his right-hand man, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, at the central city morgue Monday. A U.S. Embassy official later said ``That's correct'' when asked if Constanzo's body had been positively identified. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said fingerprints were compared, ``and a variety of other things have been done to secure positive identification.'' Constanzo's mother, Delia Constanzo of Miami, called Sheriff Alex Perez of Cameron County, Texas, on Sunday, asking if her son's body could be returned to Miami. ``She wanted to know how she could get the body back, being that he was an American citizen,'' he said. AP-NY-05-08-89 1753EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Cult `Witch' Was Held Hostage? MEXICO CITY (AP) - A woman described as the ``witch'' of a drug-smuggling cult accused in the ritual slayings of 15 people said Monday that group members held her hostage after the killings were discovered. ``It was like hell,'' 24-year-old Sara Aldrete Villarreal told a news conference Monday afternoon. ``They treated me like a prisoner. I was scared. ``I don't know how I got into this without knowing what it was,'' she said. Ms. Aldrete, who has been called the cult's ``witch'' by suspects, was one of five people arrested in Mexico City after a gunfight Saturday. As police closed in, a group member shot and killed cult ``godfather'' Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo and his right-hand man on the order of Constanzo himself, according to two of those arrested and Mexican authorities. Constanzo, 26, a Cuban-born resident of Florida, and Ms. Aldrete, his Mexican companion, were sought on both sides of the border after police discovered bodies of cult victims buried at a ranch in Matamoros, just across the Texas border from Brownsville, on April 11. A source at the Mexico City attorney general's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday two more women had been arrested in the case. He refused to identify them or provide any details. Also Monday, the attorney general's office adamantly denied statements by U.S. law enforcement authorities, who have questioned if Constanzo and his assistant are really dead. Deputy City Attorney General Abram Leopoldo Uzcanga told the news conference, ``We have no doubt that these were the men.'' He said both had been positively identified through fingerprints and showed reporters official documents that he said certified the identities. Autopsies on both bodies showed the men died from multiple gun wounds to the head and abdomen, he said. Officials said they examined the bodies of Constanzo and his right-hand man, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, at the central city morgue Monday. Meanwhile, police continued to grill the five people arrested Saturday and investigate whether other ring members still are at large. All five were booked on charges of homicide, criminal association, wounding a police agent during the arrest, and property damage. Fausto Popoca, a spokesman for the city attorney general, said in a telephone interview Monday they will be formally arraigned shortly. Mexican authorities said Constanzo and Ms. Aldrete, a former honor student at Texas Southmost College, directed the human sacrifices and other rituals. They said the rituals were meant to bring occult protection to the ring, which trafficked mostly in marijuana to the United States. Among those sacrified was Mark Kilroy, 21, a University of Texas pre-med student. Alvaro de Leon Valdez, a 22-year-old Mexican, told a Sunday news conference he killed Constanzo and Quintana with a burst of submachine-gun fire in the fourth-floor apartment on Constanzo's orders. The bodies were found slumped together inside a tiny closet. AP-NY-05-09-89 0000EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Satanic Ring Member Arrested MEXICO CITY (AP) - Police arrested an eighth member of a satanic cult of drug smugglers blamed for the ritual slaying of 15 people near the U.S. border, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Octavio Campos, spokesman for the Mexico City attorney general's office, identified the suspect only as Enrique Calzada. He was picked up by police Monday evening in Mexico City, Campos said. Campos said Calzada was ``the boyfriend of one of the women ring members nicknamed `Carla.''' ``Carla'' is the nickname of Maria del Rocio Cuevas Guerra, 43, who along with four other people was arrested at a Mexico City apartment Saturday after a gun battle with police. Police refused to disclose the identities of two other women arrested late Monday, saying they were being questioned and that their depositions had not been completed. An official at the attorney general's office, who insisted on anonymity, said police sought ``several more'' suspects for questioning in connection with the satanic cult slayings at a ranch outside Matamoros, Mexico. Police on Saturday also arrested Sara Aldrete Villarreal, 29, who authorities described as the cult's ``godmother''; Omar Francisco Orea, 23, a journalism student at the National University; Dr. Maria de Lourdes Guero Lopez, 29, a physician; and Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22. The cult's ``godfather,'' Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, and a henchman were killed by fellow cult members on Constanzo's orders at the fourth-floor apartment a few blocks from the U.S. and British embassies. The eight suspects being held have been booked on charges of homicide, criminal association, wounding a police agent during the arrest, and property damage. Campos said their arraingment was to take place late Tuesday and had been delayed because of paperwork associated with the depositions. Authorities told a tale of bizarre rituals, human and animal sacrifices and the boiling of brains and other organs by the cult, which practiced Christian Santeria, a blend of voodoo, Roman Catholicism and old African beliefs. They said Constanzo, 26, and Ms. Aldrete, a former honor student at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Texas, directed the sacrifices. But Ms. Aldrete denied involvement in the killings during two appearences before reporters this week. Cult members said they were convinced the rituals would protect them from police while they smuggled marijuana into the United States. Hundreds of U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agents had searched for the couple since April 11, when Mexican police discovered the buried bodies of the 15 victims at the remote ranch near Matamoros. The arrested cult members told officials that Constanzo, convinced police were closing in on him, began throwing handfuls of $50 and $100 bills out of the apartment window and took potshots at passersby who stopped to pick them up. Constanzo then ordered de Leon Valdez to kill him and his henchman, Martin Quintana Rodriguez. De Leon Valdez said Constanzo slapped him when he hesitated at first. He killed them both with a burst of automatic weapon fire and stuffed their bodies in a closet. AP-NY-05-09-89 1603EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Woman Admits Some Involvement MEXICO CITY (AP) - The woman called the ``godmother'' of a drug smuggling cult that killed 15 people has confessed to involvement in some of the ritual slayings, U.S. and Mexican officials were quoted Wednesday as saying. Sara Aldrete Villarreal also has exhibited signs of a split personality, said a source at the Mexico City attorney general's office. ``I would say she has three personalities,'' said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said one personality emerged when Ms. Aldrete faces the cameras and denies any involvement in the slayings, another emerges when she talks to police and ``the third one comes out when she talks to herself.'' The Houston Chronicle quoted U.S. Customs Agent Oran Neck as saying that Ms. Aldrete has ``confessed to conspiracy and involvement'' in the killings. Neck talked to reporters when he returned to Brownsville, Texas, from a 72-hour trip to Mexico City. He and a Cameron County investigator, Lt. George Gavito, assisted Mexican authorities in the closing stages of the case. Ms. Aldrete, 24, and five other cult members were arrested in a Mexico City apartment hideout Saturday afternoon after a shootout with police. The cult's leader, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, 26, and his right-hand man, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, were killed. Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22, one of those arrested, said he shot the two on Constanzo's orders. Four more suspects were subsequently arrested, the last on Tuesday night. Seven remained in custody Wednesday, provisionally booked on charges of homicide, conspiracy and resisting arrest. Two women were released after questioning, sources at the city attorney general's office said. Constanzo, a Cuban-born American from Florida, and Ms. Aldrete, a Mexican who attended college in Texas, were wanted on both sides of the border since April 11 when Mexican police, acting on a tip, dug up 15 mutilated bodies at a desolate ranch near Matamoros. Suspects told officials that cult members ritually killed some of the victims, cut off body parts and boiled organs in an attempt to secure magical protection from the police. One of the victims was identified as Mark Kilroy, 21, a pre-medical student from Santa Fe, Texas. Neck told the Chronicle that ``Sara has kind of lost touch with reality. No question about it. Her dual personality is coming up pretty strong right now. When you talk to her without the TV cameras there, she's pretty truthful.'' ``She's giving a lot of data with great detail to investigators working this case right now. It seems like when the cameras come on, she kind of reverts back to this nice, young, clean-cut kid from Texas Southmost College,'' Neck said. ``When the cameras were there, she was real nice. When she was with us she was the same ol' witch,'' said Lt. George Gavito, a U.S. investigator who accompanied Neck. AP-NY-05-10-89 1832EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Woman Admits Link To Slayings MEXICO CITY (AP) - The woman called the ``godmother'' of a drug smuggling cult that killed 15 people has confessed to involvement in some of the ritual slayings, U.S. officials said Wednesday. Sara Aldrete Villarreal also has exhibited signs of a split personality, said a source at the Mexico City attorney general's office. ``I would say she has three personalities,'' said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said one personality emerged when Ms. Aldrete faces the cameras and denies any involvement in the slayings, another emerges when she talks to police and ``the third one comes out when she talks to herself.'' U.S. Customs Agent Oran Neck said at a news conference in Brownsville, Texas, that Ms. Aldrete has ``confessed to conspiracy and involvement'' in the killings. Neck spoke after returning from a 72-hour trip to Mexico City. He and a Cameron County investigator, Lt. George Gavito, assisted Mexican authorities in the closing stages of the case. Ms. Aldrete, 24, and five other cult members were arrested in a Mexico City apartment hideout Saturday afternoon after a shootout with police. The cult's leader, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, 26, and his right-hand man, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, were killed. Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22, one of those arrested, said he shot the two on Constanzo's orders. Four more suspects were subsequently arrested, the last on Tuesday night. Seven remained in custody Wednesday, provisionally booked on charges of homicide, conspiracy and resisting arrest. Two women were released after questioning, sources at the city attorney general's office said. Constanzo, a Cuban-born American from Florida, and Ms. Aldrete, a Mexican who attended college in Texas, were wanted on both sides of the border since April 11 when Mexican police, acting on a tip, dug up 15 mutilated bodies at a desolate ranch near Matamoros. Suspects told officials that cult members ritually killed some of the victims, cut off body parts and boiled organs in an attempt to secure magical protection from the police. One of the victims was identified as Mark Kilroy, 21, a pre-medical student from Santa Fe, Texas. ``Sara has kind of lost touch with reality,'' Neck said. ``No question about it. Her dual personality is coming up pretty strong right now. When you talk to her without the TV cameras there, she's pretty truthful.'' ``She's giving a lot of data with great detail to investigators working this case right now. It seems like when the cameras come on, she kind of reverts back to this nice, young, clean-cut kid from Texas Southmost College,'' Neck said. ``When the cameras were there, she was real nice. When she was with us she was the same ol' witch,'' said Lt. George Gavito, a U.S. investigator who accompanied Neck. AP-NY-05-10-89 2224EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Woman Admits Slayings Link MEXICO CITY (AP) - The woman called the ``godmother'' of a drug-smuggling cult that killed 15 people was charged Wednesday night with two other members in the weekend deaths of their leader and his right-hand man, authorities said. ``Godmother'' Sara Aldrete Villarreal, 24; Omar Francisco Orea, 23, and Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22, were formally charged in the Saturday shootings, reported Marco Antonio Diaz de Leon, director of judicial proceedings for the Mexico City attorney general's office. Earlier Wednesday, a source in his office said Ms. Aldrete has a split personality and U.S. Customs Agent Oran Neck told a news conference that Ms. Aldrete ``confessed to conspiracy and involvement'' in ritual killings. She and the other two also were charged Wednesday with criminal association, resisting arrest, shooting a firearm at authorities and for injuries incurred in the Saturday gunbattle with police. Cult leader Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, 26, and his chief lieutenant, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, were killed in a Mexico City apartment during a shootout with police. Constanzo, a Cuban-born American from Florida, reportedly instructed de Leon Valdez to kill him and Quintana as police moved in. The cult believed that ritual killings would give them occult protection in their drug-running. The three charged with homicide, along with two other Mexico City women, still have not been arraigned, Diaz de Leon said. An arraignment date was not announced. Diaz de Leon said two other Mexico City women arrested Saturday, Dr. Maria de Lourdes Guero Lopez, 23, a physician, and Maria del Rocio Cuevas Guerra, 43, were charged with cover-up - a federal crime - in the ritual deaths at the border city of Matamoros, Mexico, across from Brownsville, Texas. Aldrete, a Mexican who attended college in Texas; Orea, and De Leon Valdez were charged only in crimes said to have taken place within the jurisdiction of Mexico City. They have not been charged with the 15 ritual slayings near Matamoros. Ms. Aldrete and Orea were charged in the deaths of Constanzo and Quintana ``because they had agreed and made a pact before the deaths in case they were going to be arrested,'' Diaz de Leon said. ``This death pact was carried out.'' Also on Wednesday, Orea; suspected cult members Salvador Antonio Gutierrez Juarez, arrested in the capital on Tuesday, and Juan Carlos Fragoso, arrested Wednesday, were charged in the July 1988 killing of Ramon Baez, a transvestite who was killed in a Mexico City suburb. Authorities earlier said Gutierrez, also known as Jorge Montes, confessed to participating along with Constanzo in Baez's slaying. Ms. Aldrete was charged with cover-up in the Baez killing. Constanzo and Ms. Aldrete were wanted on both sides of the border since April 11 when Mexican police, acting on a tip, dug up 15 mutilated bodies at a desolate ranch near Matamoros. One body was identified as that of Mark Kilroy, 21, a pre-med student from Santa Fe, Texas. U.S. authorities said Wednesday that Ms. Aldrete admitted to involvement in some of the earlier ritual slayings. AP-NY-05-11-89 0002EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. __________________________________________________________________________ Ex-Interpol Head Was In Cult? MEXICO CITY (AP) - A woman described as high priestess of a murderous drug cult swore Friday that a former Mexican head of Interpol who shot himself last year belonged to the sect, which has been blamed for 15 ritual slayings. The woman, 24-year-old Sara Aldrete Villarreal, protested her own innocence and denied she urged a gang member to kill their leader as police closed in. At one point, she started to cry and said, ``I want to see my father.'' Ms. Aldrete, a former honor student in a Texas college, testified at her arraignment hearing that Florentino Ventura was a member of the sect. Ventura, the Interpol chief, killed his wife, then shot himself to death last year. Interpol is the Paris-based international police organization that coordinates the police activities of participating nations against international criminals. Its full name is International Criminal Police Organization. Ms. Aldrete pleaded innocent to charges of murder, firing a weapon, resisting arrest, criminal association and causing injuries. The charges were filed in connection with the Saturday shootout in Mexico City in which she and four other cult members were arrested and the ringleader, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, 26, and a companion were shot to death in a closet. ``I never gave orders to kill Adolfo,'' Ms. Aldrete said at her hearing before Judge Bernardo Tirado Gutierrez of the 58th Federal District Court. No charges have been filed in connection with 15 macabre slayings on a ranch outside Matamoros, a Mexican border town near Brownsville, Texas, or the cult's purported drug-smuggling activities. Authorities say the cult believed that through human sacrifices it could gain occult protection for its drug running. Officials said members cut off body parts and boiled organs as part of the rituals. Prosectors say Ms. Aldrete, Constanzo and three other cult members made a pact to kill each other rather than face arrest. When Constanzo saw police on the street below, he panicked and demanded to be killed, they say. They said Ms. Aldrete encouraged fellow cultist Alvaro de Leon Valdez to turn his machine gun on Constanzo, a Cuban-born American from Florida, and Constanzo's right-hand man, Martin Quintana. The death pact and her alleged encouragement are the basis of the murder charge. Ms. Aldrete denied ordering de Leon Valdez to shoot Constanzo and Quintana. ``Everyone was yelling,'' she said. ``I was ... extremely nervous. What I yelled to Alvaro de Leon was that they stop shooting, that they (the police) were going to kill all of us.'' AP-NY-05-12-89 2045EDT (C) Copyright 1988, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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