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Familes of Slaying Victims Crusade Together Against Drugs

October 25, 1990

McALLEN, Texas (AP) _ Two families who suffered casualties of violent drug trafficking in one of the nation’s most active drug-smuggling corridors joined to observe a national week of anti-drug activities.

″More people are hurt by drugs than just the users,″ said Helen Kilroy, whose 21-year-old son, Mark, was slain by a cult of drug smugglers during spring break.

Kilroy and her husband, James, joined the mother and sister of drug agent Enrique Camarena, who was tortured and killed by drug traffickers in Mexico in 1985.

Camarena’s mother, Dora Camarena, and his sister, Myrna Camarena, participated with the Kiloys in the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s observance of the national ″Red Ribbon″ week on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

″Lives have been lost and homes have been broken, leaving families suffering,″ Dora Camarena told the mostly teen-age crowd in Spanish.

Tina Guerra, assistant district supervisor with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in McAllen, brought the two families together.

″You should have seen it when these families met for the first time,″ Guerra said. ″Fate brought them together. You can’t describe it.″

Camarena’s 1985 slaying inspired the Red Ribbon campaign, sponsored by the National Federation of Parents. Drug traffickers abducted him in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

His death inspired the best-selling book, ″Desperados,″ and a television movie.

Myrna Camarena, an office manager with the DEA in the San Diego, Calif., area, translated her mother’s brief speech.

″We’re hoping to cause an impact on the community locally and to help stop the flow of drugs from Mexico,″ she said.

James Kilroy, who wrote a book about his son’s death, says he’ll donate the book’s profits to the Mark Kilroy Foundation, a drug-awareness organization the Kilroys formed.

″We really want to do something about this drug problem,″ he said. ″It’s getting worse all the time.″

The drug smugglers accused of killing Mark Kilroy reportedly sought occult protection from authorities and rival smugglers by sacrificing humans.

Kilroy, who disappeared in the border city of Matamoros, Mexico, was found buried near the bodies of 14 other people believed to have been killed by the drug ring.

The cult’s leader, Miami-born Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, and an associate were killed in a shoot-out with Mexican police in May 1989.

Other alleged members of the ring are currently being tried in Mexico.

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