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13th Victim of Drug, Murder Cult Unearthed

April 14, 1989|From Associated Press

MATAMOROS, Mexico — One of the suspects in a cult of human sacrifice pointed out the grave of a 13th body on Thursday and police ordered him to dig it up.

"You'll do it with your hands if you have to," one officer told Sergio Martinez after the suspect was handed a pick and shovel.

Martinez, 23, had been taken back to a ranch near Matamoros, where 12 bodies were unearthed Tuesday. He and other suspects have told authorities there were 14 bodies buried on the ranch.

In a dramatic public confession Wednesday, some of the five suspects in custody said victims were put to death in rituals that were intended to provide a "magical shield" for members of a drug-smuggling ring.

Under the gaze of police Thursday, Martinez dug up the grave and revealed the body of a man in his 30s. Martinez said the man had been buried about four months ago.

The suspects have said they killed at the demand of Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, whom they called "godfather." They said Constanzo, 26, and Sara Maria Aldrete, 24, called the "witch," believed human sacrifices gave the members of the cult protection from harm.

Cameron County Sheriff's Lt. George Gavito said that Constanzo, a Cuban who has contacts in Miami, was last seen Tuesday over the border in Brownsville, Tex.

A warning that Constanzo and Aldrete might be heading for Miami was read to police officers there at roll calls Thursday, but "at this time we're not taking any active stance on it," Detective Marie Chaney said.

New details continued to emerge about the cult leaders, who are said to have driven luxury cars and worn expensive clothes bought with drug profits. But while that description may fit the profile of a drug smuggler, details about Aldrete's life did not fit the pattern.

"Apparently, Sara was leading a double life: as a witch in Mexico and as a dean's honor roll student at Texas Southmost College," sheriff's Deputy Carlos Tapia said. Texas Southmost College is a two-year college in Brownsville.

Aldrete, a resident alien from Mexico, was a physical education major and was listed in the college's "Who's Who" directory in 1987-88.

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