Global Dynamics

Inteligence Profiling


CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico has been the sight of brutal cartel violence. “First, there were just a few bones and body parts, found in a valley beyond the sprawl of this wild city. At least four women had been killed and dumped, the authorities said. Then, in the same area, investigators made another discovery early this year: a dozen more dead women and girls.” (Cave, 2012, June 23) The majority of victims are believed to have been killed between 2009 and 2010. While the majority of violence and/or victims had been recovered in the area of Juarez, violence in that region was not a new occurrence. “Ciudad Juarez became infamous for a wave of attacks beginning in the 1990s that left hundreds of women dead over the course of a decade.” (Cave, 2012, June 23) It has been reported that “Roughly 60 women and girls have been killed here so far this year {2012}; at least 100 have been reported missing over the past two years. And though the death toll for women so far this year is on track to fall below the high of 304 in 2010, state officials say there have already been more women killed in 2012 than in any year of the earlier so-called femicide era.” (Cave, 2012, June 23)

As of this writing the Juarez Murders remain unsolved, and many of the victims remain unidentified. However research conducted by Mexican Authorities have found the following, “After surveying 155 killings out of 340 documented between 1993 and 2003, the committee found that roughly half were prompted by motives like domestic violence, robbery and gang wars, while a little more than a third involved sexual assault.” (Cave, 2012, June 23) Victims’ rights groups disagree with these findings they argue that “maybe the girls were targeted for organ theft; maybe the killers arrived as part of the surge in deportations that has sent thousands of immigrant criminals to Ciudad Juarez from the United States. Though it is unclear if the victims had been raped, she added, maybe the killings started as sexual assaults.” (Cave, 2012, June 23)

The following will list some information in regard to victims found around Juarez Mexico:

Since 1993, the corpses of 90 to 100 women — no one has an exact count — have turned up in the desert, in vacant lots and drainage ditches. All were raped, some mutilated.

Just as troubling, hundreds of girls have disappeared from the streets of Juarez, a city of 1.5 million people. Many of the victims were chillingly similar: young, slim, dark complexion, shoulder-length hair, and poor daughters of the working class. (Burnett, 2003, February 22)

Whoever is preying on these women are looking for a specific victim type. The majority of victims had the similar appearance which takes away any belief that these killings are random. Someone (unknown subject or UNSUB) is seeking out a specific victim type. The question remains, who is killing female victims in and around Juarez Mexico and dumping bodies in the Mexican desert. More importantly are these murders connected to Mexican Drug Cartels or do they indicate that something darker is occurring in the Mexican/U.S. border region.

As previously stated, violence in the Mexican/U.S. border region is nothing new. “On April 1, 1989, Serafin {Hernandez Garcia} drove past a police checkpoint outside Matamoros, seemingly oblivious to uniformed officers guarding the highway. They pursued him, their quarry still seeming to ignore, until he led them to a rundown ranch nearby. A quick search of the property revealed occult paraphernalia and traces of marijuana. Eight days later, returning in force, police arrested Serafin Hernandez and another drug dealer, David Serna Valdez. In custody, the pair seemed relaxed, even defiant. Police could not hold them, the prisoners insisted; they were "protected" by a power over and above man's law.” (Newton, n.d.) what is interesting about this case it did not just involved Drug Cartels but was the first case that demonstrated a connection between the cartels and occult type activity and has been used and/or is being used to protect the activities of the cartel. “Serafin Hernandez freely admitted participating in Kilroy's abduction and murder—one of many committed over the past year or so at Rancho Santa Elena. The slayings were human sacrifices, he explained, executed to secure occult protection for various drug deals. "It's our religion," Hernandez explained. "Our voodoo." (Newton, n.d.) In this case it was believed that through sacrificing victims cartel members would be protected from arrest by law enforcement and would be immune to threats of other cartel groups attempting to move gain control of narcotics trafficking. The leader of this cult “El Padrino, the Godfather— Adolfo de Jesus Costanzo, a master practitioner of the African magic called "Palo mayombe." It was Constanzo who ordered the slayings, Hernandez explained, and El Padrino who tortured and sodomized the victims prior to killing them and harvesting their organs for his ritual cauldron.” (Newton, n.d.) Costanzo and his cult were followers of an Afro-Caribbean religion known as Palo Mayombe.

Palo Mayombe:

Costanzo and his followers were a part of a little known religion Kongo religion known as Palo Maymobe. “There is very little information available to the public in the United States about the Kongo religions. The majority of the literature available on the subject is written in Spanish and is from Cuba where the religion is openly practiced. Because of the secretive nature of Palo Mayombe (usually referred to simply as Palo) and other Bakongo religious traditions, responders may rarely see the religious artifacts of these religions. Rites are practiced in secret to preserve their sacred customs and because of the controversial use of human remains in their practices.” (Kail, 2008, Locations 871-874) Very little is known about the Kongo or Afro-Carribean religions due to historical discrimination that was focused at these religions. During the slave trade, African slaves were prevented from practicing their religion in the open as slave owners felt that a connection to Africa would be a threat to the community and would make controlling slaves more difficult. As such, worship of traditional African religious was banned. To get around the ban of being a member of a traditional African religion slaves would combined beliefs from Catholicism and mix that with traditional beliefs and teachings.

These events required that the practice of said religions were done in secret. Due to this secrecy still surrounds these religions.

Adolof Costanzo was “born in Miami on November 1, 1962, Adolfo de Jesus Costanzo was the son of a 15-year-old Cuban immigrant, the first of her eventual three children by three different fathers. When he was six months old, Delia Aurora Gonzalez del Valle had her son blessed by a Haitian priest of "palo mayombe," accepting the father's judgment that her son was "a chosen one" and "destined for great power." (Newton, n.d.) From a young age Costanzo was involved in the world of the occult and Palo. “By early 1983, Costanzo had chosen his patron saint, pledging himself to Kadiempembe.” (Newton, n.d.) “Kadiempembe (also known as Lungombe) is the dark counterpart to the creator. Palo practitioners claim that magic can be performed with the power of the light (Nzambi) or the powers of darkness (Kadiempembe). Those who use magic for benevolent work are known as Palo Christianos, while those who use the adversarial powers are known as Palo Judios. Judios (or Jewish Palo) merely refers to the absence of Christian images and references in the ritual vessel.”(Kail, 2008, p. 74).

Some of the fundamental teachings of Palo Mayombe include:

The fundamental teachings of Palo Mayombe is that the creator of the world is known as Nzambi, a benevolent being that has been compared by some practitioners to the Judeo-Christian concept of a creator god. In Kongo past culture, Nzambi was a benevolent creator that gave man medicines to help the world. These medicines were known as Minkisi.3 According to Kongo mythology, Nzambi gave man the instruction on how to create sacred medicines from plants. These medicines had to be infused with a spiritual power in order to be functional. (Kail, 2008, p. 73).

Bantu belief teaches that the spirits of the dead (known as the Nfumbe) can interfere with the lives of the living. The dead can also be called upon to perform work for the living. The spirit of a dead human is placed inside the Nganga. The spirit becomes a servant to the ritual specialists who own the Nganga.( Kail, 2008, p. 73-74).

The spirits of the dead and of nature are kept together in a vessel known as the Nganga. The Nganga is viewed much like a small universe that is composed of trees, rivers and mountains represented by dirt, water and tree branches. Tree branches, known as Palos, are placed in bundles of twenty-one into the Nganga cauldron, which is made of clay or iron. (Kail, 2008, p. 75)

It is the fundamental belief that the spirit would can be asked to impact upon the physical world that makes Palo such a useful tool for utilization in criminal activity. Through use a ritual caldron the spirits of the ancestors can be called about to do the working of the followers. In the case of Costanzo, his cult and other followers of Palo, there is a belief that the gods of Palo can be called upon to protect drug cartels and drug shipments from law enforcement and from the threat of other cartels attempting to dominate over other cartel groups. It should also be pointed out that Palo can be used to intimidate witnesses. While these beliefs may seem silly to those of us living in a developed nation such as the United States. There are individuals living in developing countries were belief in occult practices is still strong and therefore will be intimidated by the practice of Palo. This level of intimidation will prevent individuals from coming forward to report criminal activity.

In the case of Costanzo, “Police returned to the ranch with Hernandez in tow. He readily pointed out the cult's private graveyard and then when asked, used a shovel to unearth the first of 12 bodies buried in a tidy row. All the victims were men. Some had been shot at close range and others hacked to death with a machete. One of the bodies was Mark Kilroy, his skull split open, his brain missing. Detectives entering a nearby shed found the cult's cast-iron kettle called a nganga brimming with blood, animal remains and 28 sticks—the "palos" of palo mayombe—which Costanzo’s disciples said they used to communicate with spirits in the afterlife. Floating in the pot with spiders, scorpions and other items that could scarcely be identified, they found Mark Kilroy's brain.” (Newton, n.d.) In addition:

Responders who encounter Palo Mayombe shrines may discover the presence of animal and human bones in the Nganga. Bones play a special part in the building of the Nganga as they represent the ancestors and the spirits of the dead. The energy of these spirits resides in the bones. It is by using these energies that the practitioners of Palo Mayombe can interact with the spirits of the dead. Practitioners refer to human bones as the Nfumbe. The primary human bones used in the Nganga are the skull, tibia and femur. The skull, known as the Kiyumba, acts as the "intelligence" of the dead and as a conductor between the world of the dead and the world of the living. (Kail, 2008, p. 75).

Both animal and human bones are required to be placed in the ritual caldron or nganga. It is through these bones that the spirit is able to communicate with the world of the living. They serve to bridge the gap between this world and the next world. As bones are an important element to the nganga practitioners will go to great lengths to obtain them. As the case of Costanzo demonstrates these lengths may include ritual murder and/or human sacrifice.

In the end Adolfo Costanzo was killed during a shootout with law enforcement and his followers were sentenced to prison terms. However one cult member made the following statement:

"I don't think the religion will end with us, because it has a lot of people in it. They have found a temple in Monterrey that isn't even related to us. It will continue." Between 1987 and 1989, police in Mexico City recorded 74 unsolved ritual murders, 14 of them involving infant victims. Costanzo’s cult is suspected in at least 16 of those cases, all involving children or teenagers, but authorities lack sufficient evidence to press charges. (Newton, n.d.)


The case of Aldofo Costanzo took place in the late 1980s. There has not been any direct evidence that indicates that the Costanzo cult managed to survive after his death and the arrest of his followers. However it would not be a stretch so say that if one of these types of cults were in existence in Mexico that they are still in existence today. Meaning that other Palo cults still exist in Mexico to this day.

There was even a belief among Costanzo’s followers that there were other groups that were also involved in occult practices in Mexico during the same time period (the late 1980s).

“The official toll is 260 women killed since 1993, but local women's groups believe the actual number is more than 400. Many of the victims — the Chihuahua state government says 76 — have the hallmarks of serial killings: they were raped, some had their hands tied or their hair cut or their breasts mutilated. Bodies have been found with their heads crushed or even driven over by a car. The killers appear to prey on a certain type of young woman: slim with big brown eyes and long brown hair. Most of the victims are assaulted on their way home from work.

Downtown first went to Juarez to report on the murders in 1998. Since then, the killing has continued, with more than 70 new victims, according to activists critical of the authorities' handling of the crimes. And, the groups say, the killings are getting more brutal.” (Who Is Killing the Women of Juarez? - ABC News, n.d.)

Common belief is that a serial killer has been preying on the female victims that have been recovered from the Juarez desert. While it is not completely impossible that a serial killer is operating in that area it is unlikely that a serial killer would have been able to operate for such a long period and remains unidentified. It is equally as unlikely that a serial killer would still be functioning from the late 1980s/early 1990s and would continue to be in operation today. Basically this is because people age. A serial killer that would have been a young man 25 years ago would not at minimum is a middle aged man. Crime is generally something that you age out of, to murder a young female victim (or a young victim or any sort) the killer would need to have the stamina to overcome the attacker. It is unlikely that an older man would be able to maintain control over younger victims.

Also, no real attempt was taken to hide the victims; they were simply disposed in the desert. While it can be that the UNSUB believed that nature would take care of the remains it is more likely that a serial killer would have taken more effort to hide the remains of victims. After all if victims are never found it is unlikely that anyone would recognize the fact that a killer was operating in an area. Without a body there is no crime. Based around this it is likely that a serial killer would go to greater lengths to cover up the remains of victims.

Given all of this and law enforcements inability to identify the UNSUB it is likely that at least one drug cartel is responsible for the vast majority of violence that is occurring in and around Juarez. Taking into account the story of Aldofo Costanzo and the fact that he was working with drug cartels and using Palo as part of the function of the cartel (to protect the cartel from law enforcement) and the fact that cult members admitted that other cults were in operation in Mexico that the remains that have been found in Juarez have fallen victim to a drug cartel cult that is operation in the Mexican/U.S. Border Region. It is also likely that no witnesses have come forward to aid in a police investigation due to the fact that they have been intimidated not only by the cartel but also by the idea that occult ritual is also being utilized.


Burnett, J. (2003, February 22). Who's Killing the Women of Juarez? : NPR. NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from

Cave, D. (2012, June 23). Wave of Violence Swallows More Women in Juárez, Mexico - The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from

Kail, T. M. (2008). Magico-religious groups and ritualistic activities a guide for first responders. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis. (Kindle).

Newton, M. (n.d.). Adolfo Constanzo — Spring Break — Crime Library on truTV. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from

Who Is Killing the Women of Juarez? - ABC News. (n.d.). - Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News - ABC News. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from