Cult Members Moved to Prison
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The woman reputed to be the priestess of a cult blamed for 15 ritual slayings was moved Thursday with six others arrested in the case to a prison on the edge of the city.
Officials said the seven, who had been held at the city attorney general’s office for questioning, could be arraigned as early as Friday.
Although they were sought in connection with the cult killings, Sara Aldrete Villarreal and the other two main figures in the group have been charged only in three Mexico City murders.
One of those killed was the ″godfather″ of the cult, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, who cult members said ordered his own execution when police closed in on them at a Mexico City apartment on Saturday.
Two other women, Maria del Rocio Cuevas Guerra and Maria de Lourdes Guero, a physician, were charged with covering up a crime in connection with the 15 killings on the Santa Elena ranch outside Matamoros. Their case was to be transferred to a federal court.
In announcing the charges late Wednesday, Marco Antonio Diaz de Leon, an official of the city attorney general’s office, said Ms. Aldrete, Constanzo and three others who were with them in the apartment had made a pact to kill each other if they were going to be arrested.
″This death pact was carried out,″ he said.
Authorities said Ms. Aldrete, a former honor student at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Texas, directed the human sacrifices and other rituals, including mutilations and boiling of brains and organs. They said the rituals were meant to bring occult protection to the drug ring, which allegedly trafficked in marijuana to the United States. Alvaro de Leon Valdez, one of those arrested, said that when Costanzo saw police on the street below the fourth-floor apartment where they were staying, he panicked and demanded to be killed.
He told a news conference earlier this week that he used a machine gun to kill Constanzo and Martin Quintana, his right-hand man.
Ms. Aldrete and Omar Francisco Orea were charged with homicide, firing a weapon at authorities, resisting arrest, criminal association and causing injuries. De Leon Valdez was charged with the first four crimes.
The death pact was the basis for the homicide charges against Ms. Aldrete and Orea, Diaz de Leon said. He said another consideration was that when Constanzo ordered De Leon Valdez to kill him, Ms. Aldrete urged him on.
At a news conference on Sunday Ms. Aldrete said she told De Leon Valdez, ″Do it, do it. If you don’t do it, you’re going to pay with circumstances (you encounter) in hell.″
Constanzo, a Cuban-born American from Florida, Ms. Aldrete and other associates had been sought on both sides of the border since April 11, when police dug up the first of 15 bodies found on the ranch.
Most of them were mutilated, including that of Mark Kilroy, a pre-medical student from Santa Fe, Texas.
In two news conferences, Ms. Aldrete calmly told reporters she knew nothing of the murders until she saw television reports on the discovery of the bodies and asked Constanzo about them.
However, U.S. Customs Agent Oran Neck, speaking in Brownsville, told a news conference Wednesday that during questioning she had ″confessed to conspiracy and involvement″ in the killings.