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Cult Leader’s Charisma and Clairvoyance Attracted Stars, Wealthy

May 14, 1989 GMT

DALLAS (AP) _ Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo used his good looks and claims of clairvoyance to charm Mexico’s elite and attract drug traffickers and cultists willing to do anything for their ″godfather,″ a newspaper reported.

Constanzo, who ordered his own execution and that of companion Martin Quintana Rodriguez as police closed in May 6 on his Mexico City residence, has been linked to as many as 24 slayings - 15 that were discovered last month outside Matamoros, Mexico, and many that included ritualistic sacrifices.

Those who knew him said Constanzo built a career as a reader to the stars, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday’s editions.

His clients included top-ranking police and government officials and popular entertainers, according to statements last week by his family, followers and authorities. Some clients paid as much as $8,000 a session for his predictions and ritual ″cleansings″ that promised good luck, family members told the newspaper.

″He would tell rich people what to do, how to make things better, and since what he would say would happen, they would pay him $30,000 or $40,000,″ said Constanzo’s brother, Fausto Rodriguez, 21, of Miami.

Authorities depict Constanzo, 26, as a bisexual who had affairs with several members of his cult and wore rubies, sapphires and diamonds on every finger, drove a 1989 Mercedes-Benz and twice bought a boyfriend $10,000 worth of clothes in Brownsville, Texas.

Constanzo’s mother, Delia Gonzalez Del Valle of Miami, described her son as a homebody who kept a neat house, cared about his family and had few close friends as a youngster. But, she said, Constanzo had striking good looks, charisma and what appeared to his admirers to be an ever-increasing clairvoyance.

″People were always asking, ‘Who’s that?’ - everybody believing he was somebody and asking if he’s a movie star,″ Mrs. Gonzalez told The Morning News. ″He had cachet.″

And, she said, ″he knew things.″

A high school dropout, Constanzo predicted former President Reagan would be shot in 1980, but would survive, Mrs. Gonzalez said. He predicted a great tragedy was coming to Mexico just months before the Mexico City earthquake of 1985.

The son of teen-age Cuban immigrants, Constanzo was born in Miami but moved to Puerto Rico as an infant with his mother after his parents divorced. The family returned to Florida when he was 10 to seek medical care for his stepfather, who died of cancer in 1973.

At 14, Constanzo fathered a child by his 13-year-old girlfriend and dropped out of high school. He also began claiming to have out-of-body experiences, healing the sick and predicting the future, the paper reported.

He did odd jobs until he landed a modeling job in Mexico City in 1984. There he fathered another child and began attracting clients for his readings - including such celebrities, cult members say, as pop singer Oscar Athie, actress Irma Serrana and renowned hairstylist Alfredo Palacios. All of them have denied any link to the cult.

Athie said Constanzo’s followers harassed him for more than a year because he rejected their requests to perform in concert and pay for a ritual cleansing.

″They said that they were witches and that Constanzo had powers, and for $2,000 or $3,000 I could be cleansed for good luck,″ Athie told the newspaper. When he refused, Athie said ″they became angry and called back to say that I was going to die slowly of a serious illness.″

Authorities believe Constanzo performed several human sacrifices - including as many as nine in the Mexico City area - in addition to revenge killings.

Cult member Alvaro de Leon Valdez said members would stand around an altar, sometimes blindfolded, while Constanzo killed his victim. Constanzo would allow members to dismember the corpse.

Members of the Hernandez drug-smuggling family told police Constanzo offered them protection from their enemies - police, rival drug gangs and feuding family members - in return for 50 percent of the profits.