Adolfo Constanzo and Sara Aldrete were cult leaders and serial killers. They believed their black magic and spell casting helped the cartels to smuggle drugs successfully over the border, with a little help from real human sacrifices…
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The story unravelled when an American pre-med student named Mark Kilroy vanished in 1989 on the streets of Matamoros, Mexico. Brownsville and Matamoros are just right next to each other, only a river divides the two cities. Matamoros is a popular place for teenagers to visit because of lenient laws on alcohol and nightclubs. Kilroy and his fraternity brothers travelled from South Padre Island to Mexico to do what all young people would – party and have fun. When the group decided to leave and started walking toward the border, Mark wanted to visit a bathroom, but his friends decided to wait in the car just across the border.
They waited, waited and waited, but Mark never made it across.
Despite Adolfo being a baptized Catholic and an altar boy, he accompanied his mother on trips to Haiti to learn about Haitian Voodoo. Adolfo was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where he was known as a local sorcerer and practitioner of a religion from Central-Africa called Palo Mayombe, which involved animal sacrifice.
As a grown-up, he decided to move to Mexico City, where he met the future priestess Sara Aldrete, who was known among her peers as a good student who studied physical education, preparing herself for university until the day she was initiated into Adolfo’s cult which involved expensive blood sacrifices of chickens, goats, snakes, zebras and even lion cubs. Adolfo named himself El Padrino de Matamoros - The Godfather of Matamoros and gave Sara the nickname La Madrina, Spanish for godmother. Three other men - Martin Quintana, Jorge Montes and Omar Orea, were introduced to the profitable business of casting spells to bring good luck for rich drug dealers and hitmen. They started raiding graveyards for human bones, but before long the cult needed live human sacrifices instead of old bones.
Believing his magic spells were responsible for the success of the cartels, Adolfo made a proposition to one of the most powerful families he knew - the Calzadas. When the cartel rejected his offer to become a business partner and the protector of their drug trafficking, seven family members disappeared.
Adolfo soon made friends with a new cartel - the Hernandez brothers, who believed that with the help of Adolfo they were invisible to their enemies and saw a profitable opportunity, making Adolfo Constanzo a wealthy, powerful and well-respected man.
In 1988, Constanzo moved to Rancho Santa Elena, a small house in the desert, which became known as The Devil’s Ranch – a temple for human sacrifice. Over the course of 2 years the ranch was used to store shipments of cocaine and marijuana, and sadistic ritual murders were carried out. Previously no one cared about the missing drug dealers, figuring they were the victims of an ongoing drug war. But when the U.S citizen Mark Kilroy went missing, the Mexican authorities were pressured to investigate. A connection between Adolfo, the Hernandez brothers, and Mark was established. The Devil’s Ranch revealed the details of a twisted cult: horrific scene of murder, torture and human sacrifice. 15 mutilated corpses were dug up at the ranch, one of them Kilroy’s, whose body was dismembered - his heart, genitals and spine were used to make a magic stew.
When the authorities learned about the ranch, Adolfo fled to Mexico City with four of his followers. The apartment where they stayed was quickly discovered and surrounded by policemen. Determined not to go to prison, he handed a gun to follower Alvaro de Leon and ordered him to open fire on him and Martin Quintana. By the time police reached the apartment, both Constanzo and Quintana were dead. De Leon and Sara Aldrete were immediately arrested.
A total of fourteen cult members were charged with a wide range of crimes, from murder to drug-running. Initially, the cult’s godmother Sara was convicted of conspiracy and jailed for six years. In her second trial, she was sentenced to 647 years in prison for several counts of murder.
Just like cult leader Jim Jones, who took his life and made his 900+ followers do the same, Adolfo Constanzo couldn’t take responsibility for his actions.