MATAMOROS, Mexico -- Authorities say Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, suspected leader of a drug-smuggling cult accused of a series of sacrificial murders, may have killed his girlfriend in Mexico City and then fled to Florida.
A purse and other belongings of Sara Aldrete Villareal, 24, known as the 'witch' of Constanzo's ring, were found in a Mexico City residence, along with an occult altar, said Juan Benitez Ayala, commander of the Federal Judicial Police unit in Matamoros.
A woman identified as Maria Teresa was arrested Monday in the apartment where Aldrete's belongings were found.
Police had believed that Aldrete, identified as Constanzo's girlfriend, had been on the run with him since last week when the bodies of 11 people believed murdered in cult sacrifices and four others were found buried on ranches near Matamoros.
But Aldrete said Monday that police had found evidence Aldrete did not accompany Constanzo, 26, known as the cult's padrino, the godfather, and two others who flew from McAllen, Texas, to Mexico City. Constanzo and ther two, Alvara DeLeon Valdez and Martin Quintana, then to Miami last Tuesday, Ayala said.
According to U.S. Customs agent Oran Neck, the three suspects took a Continental Airlines flight from McAllen to Mexico City the day after Mexican police served a narcotics search warrant on the Santa Elena Ranch 20 miles west of Matamoros, leading to the discovery of th bodies.
Aldrete, who was seen with Constanzo the day before at a Brownsville, Texas, motel, was not with the three men when they left Mexico City, Neck said.
Mexican officials said Monday they believe Aldrete, 24, may have been killed by her companions. Aldrete apparently served as a go-between for Mexican drug dealers and a U.S. market, Ayala said, and 'she may have known too much.'
'She may have been ordered killed -- maybe by the padrino,' he said. 'We believe she could have been killed and buried in Mexico (City).'
Federal drug agents in Houston Monday also arrested Serafin Hernandez Rivera, 45, on drug-smuggling charges. He is the father of Serafin Hernandez Garcia, one of four suspects arrested at the ranch.
Hernandez Rivera is not accused of participating in the killings or cult rituals, Neck said, but is suspected of playing a pivotal role in the smuggling aspect of the murderous cult.
Constanzo is accused of directing the slayings and mutilations, in which the victims' brains and blood were removed and boiled in an iron caldron in a wood shack at the ranch, as well as the group's drug trafficking operations. Authorities believe the ring smuggled a ton of marijuana into the United States each week.
Suspects already in custody told authorities they believed the human sacrifices would protect them from arrest.
Aldrete, a straight-A college student in Brownsville who also maintained a residence in Matamoros, is accused of recruiting the group's members and introducing them to the cult practices by making them repeatedly watch 'The Believers,' a movie about cult killings linked to a bizarre form of a Caribbean religion called palo mayombe.