Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo: One Sick Freak
I love cults. Okay, maybe love is a bit of a strong word. Let’s call it morbid fascination. I have a morbid fascination with cults. Since I’m such a nut about cults, I’ve spent way too much time researching them, so I can assure you I know my stuff.
Cults are a fascinating part of history but aren’t covered in the classroom, so today I’m going to educate you about a personal favorite cult leader of mine, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo.
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo was a cult leader and serial killer who killed many people around the Texas-Mexico border, including a Texas college student, so as a Texas college student, naturally I feel he is the most (ir)relevant serial killer for you to learn about.
Background and Cultist Beginnings
Constanzo’s mother thought he had psychic powers and instilled this belief in him. Way to go, mom. In Mexico City in 1983, he began supporting himself as a tarot card reader. Due to his charisma, he was successful in this and began reading tarot cards and telling fortunes for rich, powerful drug lords… but his rich clients started to want more than simple tarot card readings. They wanted black magic-type spells. So Constanzo convinced a few men to join him in digging up human bones from cemeteries. You know, nothing too out of the ordinary. He used the bones for black magic rituals and discovered Santeria*. His drug lord clients were satisfied and through his contact with them, he learned there was more money to be made in drugs than fortune-telling. According to Edward Humes, he attracted two male followers and convinced them to be his disciples and lovers. Constanzo was bisexual and handsome.
He worked as a male model for a time. Through this career, he met many people and began to build a following. He continued to work with Santeria, but instead of working with the usual “light” forces of Santeria, began working with the “dark” forces, or, basically, the evil side of Santeria.
Constanzo gathered a substantial amount of followers, many of whom were drug dealers or small-time criminals, but he also had followers such as fashion models, physicians, realtors, transvestite nightclub owners, and policemen. He gathered many police followers, thus, he had men on the inside, which was advantageous to his desired career in drug trafficking.
Constanzo moved to Matamoros, a Mexican border town. The actual reason for his move is unknown, but it is speculated that he moved so he could smuggle drugs across the Mexican-American border. In Matamoros, he met Sara María Aldrete, a college student. They started dating and she dropped out of school to be with him. The two practiced Palo Mayombe, or the dark side of Santeria, which included ritual sacrifice and the wearing of animal bones. Constanzo was the High Priest of Palo Mayombe and Sara the High Priestess. They employed dark forces to protect themselves and, allegedly, Constanzo’s followers from harm.
Constanzo and Sara, or Mr. and Mrs. Batshit-Insane High Priests, began smuggling drugs across the border and throughout Mexico. They mostly sold and traded marijuana, employing Constanzo’s followers as drug mules. They transported about 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week.
Their marijuana smuggling operation became incredibly successful. Constanzo told his followers that the black magic of Palo Mayombe would protect them from the police and even bullets, so moving a ton of weed around for him was cool. “For their protection,” Constanzo would lead his followers onto a street and point at someone who needed to be sacrificed. He would order them to seize the random victim and later a murderous ritual sacrifice would be performed to ensure the safety and success of Constanzo’s drug empire.
The ritual killings consisted of torturing and disemboweling the victims before carving them up with a machete and burning their dead bodies. On occasion, Constanzo sacrificed one of his drug dealer followers, either because they were getting too greedy or because he wanted to scare the other followers…the ones we was allegedly supposed to be protecting from harm.
Due to his domincance over such a large populous and his incredible success as a drug lord, Constanzo was dubbed “El Padrino de Matamoros”, or “The Godfather of Matamoros”.
For whatever off-his-rocker reason, Constanzo felt he needed to kill a gringo. Wrong move, big guy.
Mark Kilroy, a white college student celebrating spring break with his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, in March of 1989, was chosen at random to be sacrificed. He was taken to Constanzo’s isolated ranch on the outskirts of Matamoros, Rancho Santo Elena, and disemboweled, stabbed to death, and burned in a sacrificial manner.
Despite his Constanzo’s inside connections with the police, finding Mark Kilroy became the police’s priority. Constanzo had gone too far in killing an American and now had every Texan police officer looking for his white victim. After a couple months, virtually no progress had been made in finding Mark Kilroy and priority was given to drug cases. That is, until police discovered Constanzo’s Palo Mayombe cult accidentally by means of a small-time drug bust.
On April 11, 1989, investigators discovered the mutilated body of Mark Kilroy and approximately 12 other victims in shallow graves at the ranch. According to The New York Times, two of the bodies were drug dealers and ten were random victims. At the scene, police found various Santeria paraphernalia and small cauldrons filled with animal bones. There was a large cauldron near the front door which was filled with a type of stew which the cult members were said to be drinking. In the cauldron were human blood, a horseshoe, goat’s feet, a turtle, and a human brain.
Through cutting deals and scare tactics, police were able to interrogate Constanzo’s followers on the ranch and locate him in his apartment in Mexico City with his two male lovers and original disciples. Surrounded, Constanzo panicked and ordered one of his male lovers to shoot him and the other male lover. The lover obeyed and Constanzo died on May 6, 1989, surrounded by his extensive collection of homosexual pornography.
Constanzo escaped his jail sentence, but police tracked down Sara María Aldrete, who was arrested and eventually given a 68-year sentence. Other members of Constanza’s cult were arrested and jailed for drug trafficking and obstruction of justice, and, oh yeah, murder.
According to Edward Humes, it was eventually discovered that Constanzo was responsible for over 74 murders.
In a nutshell, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo was a very bad man. He practiced black magic, sold drugs, manipulated people, killed people, and eventually did himself in by killing a student from Texas. But honestly, he should have seen his demise coming, because you know what they say, “Don’t mess with Texas”, especially if you’re a cult leader. So cult leaders, don’t litter, or you’ll be killed surrounded by gay porn.
*a form of Afro-Caribbean voodoo.