A chilling tradition has spread throughout Mexican cartels, creating devil-worshipping cults that mutilate and sacrifice their victims.
Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, can be traced back to Aztec and Mayan death gods.
Many devotees call themselves Catholic, but the church frowns about the cult – which is thought to have millions of followers.
It was originally set up by Enriqueta Romero in Mexico’s City dangerous Tepito neighbourhood in 2002 after her son gave her a Saint Death figure, and has since been latched on to by cartels.
Last October, a Mexican gang created an altar to Santa Muerte using human skulls and other body parts.
Cops uncovered the horrifying site during a raid on five houses in the colonies of Peralvillo and Tepito in the municipality of Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City.
The 31 suspects, 26 men and five women, are all suspected of belonging to the La Union Tepito cartel.
The altar was reportedly made up of satanic masks and contained human remains along with skulls covered with blood.
Resident Martha N. claimed they carried out satanic rituals every three days to become “immune” to bullets.
In 2017, 28 inmates were slayed in Acapulco prison in a Santa Muerte ritual with the complicity of guards, Reforma reported.
El Chapo's warring cartel 'to form alliance with Mexico's dominant gang'
They were killed with sharp weapons and guns during the massacre in the southern state of Guerrero.
The Catholic News Agency claimed that some of the victims were beheaded.
Los Zetas, formed by corrupt members of an elite unit of Mexico’s special forces in 2010, have also come to embrace Santa Muerte.
In 2012, they dumped the headless torsos of 43 men and six women on a highway between the US border and the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.
Crime lord forms new cartel with 'thousands of troops' to take down El Chapo's sons
Some of the corpses were marked with Santa Muerte tattoos, the Washington Post reported.
Back in 2011, the church’s leader David Romo Guillen was arrested and charged with kidnapping and extortion.
Authorities claimed that he and eight others disguised themselves as members of Los Zetas to kidnap two elderly people for ransom money, the Latin American News Dispatch reported.
Cocaine should be legalised in UK and sold in government stores , says think tank
Guillen, who allegedly received 25,000 pesos (£922) from the kidnappers, claims he was tortured.
He said: “They put my head in water and beat me…I was like a guinea pig…and I suffered psychological torture.”
However, the next year he was sentenced to 66 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping.
'Creative' criminals fill sex toys up with £30million of cocaine and meth
The trend itself is not confined to criminal organisations in Mexico.
Last month, a “devil worshipper” cut out his victim’s heart and decapitated him during a sacrifice in Argentina.
Marcos Correa’s disfigured body was found in the Santa Fe province, next to a pagan site honouring Santa Muerte.
A 34-year-old man identified as Carlos L was arrested, having earlier posted satanic pictures on social media.
Source: Read Full Article