Local officials have torn down a 3-year-old cult in Mexico responsible for running a sex-slave ring on the Texas border, according to reports.
The group referred to themselves as "Defensores de Cristo" or "Defenders of Christ." The name is in reference to their Spanish cult leader who proclaimed that he was the Christ incarnate, an official from one of the victim's advocacy groups told the Associated Press.
Women were recruited and then ordered to have sex with the cult leader before being subjected to slavery and prostitution. The ring was running alongside the Laredo, Texas border. Spaniard Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba and 24 others were detained on Tuesday for being in Mexico illegally, Pro8 News reported.
Arriba was named as an active participant in the group, which could also face charges for human smuggling amongst other things Pro8 News reported. Federal police raided the Nuevo Laredo ranch earlier this week, where a group of presumed cult members were found living in "filthy conditions," an institute official told the AP.
Amongst those found were at least five children ages ranging from 8 months to 14 years. One child, an 11-year-old girl, was allegedly married to another cult member who was 40-years-old, Pro8 News reported. A total of 14 foreigners were discovered within the group's members; six Spaniards and two people each from Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela in addition to one person from Argentina and another from Ecuador.
10 Mexican citizens were also found, although it is unclear at this point which people were victims and which might be considered the abusers. No official charges have been announced.
Mexico's National Immigration Institute, who led the raid, stated that Venezuelan citizen Jose Arenas Losanger Segovia was the leader of the cult. That information, however, conflicts with the cult's site which listed Arriba as the leader.
Neither Gonzalez de Arriba nor Losanger Segovia could be reached for comment on Tuesday, AP noted. Officials are investigating whether cells of the cult could exist in other countries.