15. Adolfo Constanzo’s Santeria Cult
Adolfo Constanzo was born in Miami in 1962 and grew up with a traditional Roman Catholic religion. However, he had a fascination with the Santeria religion – a syncretism of Voodoo and Roman Catholicism – that he may have inherited from his mother and grandmother, both believed to be Santeria priestesses. Constanzo became involved with some of the darker, occultish aspects of Santeria, a side that many followers disavow. After training with a Santeria sorcerer, he moved to Mexico City and established himself with the local drug lords and crime syndicates. He charged the leaders exorbitant prices – thousands of dollars – to perform Santeria rituals that would guarantee their safety, particularly from their enemies and the police.
Constanzo’s followers worshiped him as if he was a god. Some of the people who followed him found that they were becoming powerful within their cartels, and he tried to extract more money from them, as well as positions of power for his own self. When people refused, they would mysteriously disappear. When police eventually found the bodies of people he had killed, what came to light is that he had dismembered many people and used their body parts in his rituals to strengthen his own powers. The official count of people he killed is 23, but it may be as high as four dozen.