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Cult Leader’s Ex-Girlfriend Denies Killings, Implicates Former Interpol Head

May 13, 1989

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A 24-year-old woman told a judge that she tried to flee a drug cult after its leader, her ex-boyfriend, admitted killing people on a ranch near the Texas border.

Sara Aldrete Villarreal and two other cult members were arraigned Friday on murder charges in the killing of their leader, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, and his closest associate.

Constanzo, linked to the deaths of 15 people at a ranch near the border city of Matamoros in April, died during a police manhunt when he reputedly ordered his minions to kill him as they holed up in Mexico City.

Although Ms. Aldrete was one of the suspects in the 15 earlier deaths, she has not been charged in those crimes. Five other people were arrested in Matamoros last month in connection with the earlier killings.

Ms. Aldrete was arraigned on two counts of murder, criminal association and resisting arrest. Also arraigned on murder and other charges were Alvaro de Leon Valdez and Omar Francisco Orea.

Dressed in a prison uniform and standing behind bars in a chamber off the courtroom, Ms. Aldrete denied she was involved in Constanzo’s death.

She shook her head ″No″ when an official of the 58th Federal District Court, reading from a transcript of her statements during interrogation, said she urged Alvaro de Leon Valdez to obey when Constanzo, 26, ordered himself and Martin Quintana killed to avoid capture.

″Everyone was yelling″ when police closed in, 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,″ she told the court.

″I never gave orders to kill Adolfo,″ she said.

At the end of the proceedings, Ms. Aldrete’s lawyer, Horacio Moyar Quintanilla, told the court there was no evidence to support the first two charges. He did not comment on the third.

She also testified that Florentino Ventura, a veteran police officer who allegedly killed his wife and another woman before shooting himself on Sept. 17, was described by Constanzo as his ″godson.″

Ventura was Interpol chief in Mexico since early 1985. Interpol is a Paris- based organization that coordinates police actions against international criminals.

Ms. Aldrete has specified that she practiced ″Christian Santeria,″ which she said did not include human sacrifices.

However, she described rituals involving sacrificial killings of animals. ″The way I found out about the deaths and everything that happened (at the ranch) was when the bodies were shown on television,″ she said. She said it was then that Constanzo told her how they were killed.

She said four victims, including Texas college student Mark Kilroy, were human sacrifices. The others, she said, were killed over drugs, money or other disputes.

She said she wanted to flee after group members fled to Mexico City when the bodies were found, but said Constanzo told her: ″You won’t leave here any way but dead since you are a loose cannon.″

She said she was Constanzo’s girlfriend for about a month in September 1987.

Judge Bernardo Tirado Gutierrez has until Monday to rule there is sufficient evidence to presume guilt or drop the charges. The three are not eligible for bond. If he orders them held, he then has a year in which to sentence them or find them innocent.

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