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Satanic Cult Leader Orders Follower to Kill Him to Avoid Capture

May 8, 1989

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Surrounded by police, the leader of a drug-smuggling cult accused of the ritual mutilation-slayings of 15 people along the U.S. border ordered a subordinate to kill him or suffer in the afterlife.

″He said to kill him because if I didn’t it was going to go very badly for me in hell,″ Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22, told a news conference Sunday.

De Leon killed cult leader Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo and the ringleader’s right-hand man with a machine gun as police closed in on the Mexico City apartment where the gang was hiding, the Attorney General’s office said.

″He went crazy, crazy″, de Leon Valdez said.

De Leon Valdez, along with four other people including 24-year-old Sara Maria Aldrete Villarreal, described by authorities as the ″witch″ of the cult, were arrested after Saturday’s shootout.

The Attorney General’s office presented the five to reporters on Sunday. They stood behind a table covered with cult items found in the apartment, including two swords, black candles, a skull apparently made of white wax and a blindfolded doll holding another doll.

Authorities have said they believe Constanzo, 26, and Ms. Aldrete directed human sacrifices, mutilations and the boiling of brains and other organs in rituals to bring occult protection to their ring, which dealt mostly in marijuna.

The bodies of the victims, including a University of Texas student, were found buried on a ranch in Matamoros near the U.S. border beginning April 11.

Ms. Aldrete, who referred to Constanzo as el Padrino, or Godfather, said she had nothing to do with the slayings and learned about them in television reports.

″I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing,″ said the former honor student at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Texas.

The search for Mark Kilroy of Santa Fe, Texas, who disappeared while on spring break in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, led to discovery of the bodies at the Santa Elena Ranch.

Asked who killed Kilroy, Ms. Aldrete said: ″Adolfo.″

De Leon Valdez said he was present when the young American was killed with a machete chop to the head. Kilroy’s spinal column was removed for a necklace, he said.

″I feel sorry because when he disappeared I was trying to help the (Kilroy) family,″ Ms. Aldrete said in response to reporters’ questions. She did not elaborate.

Ms. Aldrete said that shortly before Constanzo was killed he was shouting that he and close associate Martin Quintana Rodriguez should be ″killed since everything was finished for them.″

″He was telling him ’do it, do it. If you don’t do it, you’re going to pay with circumstances in hell.‴

Their bodies were found slumped together inside a tiny closet of the apartment.

Ms. Aldrete told authorities Constanzo had invited her to join ″Christian Santeria″ and asked her to use voodoo to help people with problems, Abraham Polo Uscanga, deputy city attorney general, said.

She said Constanzo initiated her into the cult in 1988.

Asked if she was in love with Constanzo, a Cuban-American who grew up in suburban Miami, Ms. Aldrete said, ″No, but I followed him.″

Santeria is a blend of Catholicism and old African beliefs that includes animal sacrifices and is an offshoot of voodoo.

The murders were carried out in a ″little temple,″ a small building on the ranch, and body parts were put in a cauldron, De Leon Valdez said.

Bodies exhumed on the ranch had brains, hearts, sexual organs and other parts removed.

De Leon Valdez said Constanzo told them the people were killed ″so that it would go better for us on the road, in the future.″

Neighbors said the group had been living for about two weeks in the fourth- floor apartment of the rust-colored apartment building in a quiet neighborhood of the capital.

On Sunday, police armed with machine guns sat in a truck outside the apartment building, saying there were there to ensure no one tampered with evidence.

Police sealed off the apartment. Seen through a keyhole, the place was a shambles. A chair and bed were turned sideways and litter was strewn about the floor.

The others arrested were 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 he invited him to take part in black magic; and Maria de Lourdes Guero Lopez, 29, whose connection to the case was not clear.

They were were being held in Mexico on charges of homicide, criminal association, wounding a police agent in the arrest, and damage to property, Polo Uscanga said.

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