Cops probe drugs, 'death saint' link

Oct. 27, 2010 at 7:18 PM
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PHOENIX, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Arizona police say they are looking into a possible connection between a stabbing, decapitation death and drug cartel members who pray to the "Saint of Death."

"Certainly they are looking at the role that Santa Muerte (Saint of Death) played in this as that is a religion that drug cartels follow because they believe it will protect them from law enforcement," Chandler detective David Ramer said.

Beheadings have been known to be used as part of the Santa Muerta religion, Ramer said.

Candles and a Ouija board were found in the apartment, The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

The murder victim, Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy, 38, and three other men had been visiting from Mexico.

"While inside (the men) were all talking drunk about Santa Muerte, which means the Saint of Death in Spanish, and were acting so strangely that one man felt uncomfortable enough to leave the apartment a few minutes later," said a police report about the Oct. 10 incident.

Police have arrested Crisantos Moroyoqui, 36, a neighbor who had been drinking with the others.

"Was this guy killed as part of the religion? They are looking that this might be drug-cartel related, and we know that drug cartels practice this religion," Ramer said of Santa Muerte.

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