(MintPress) – About a year after the National Immigration Institute said it filed a complaint against a sex-slavery ring operating near the U.S.-Mexico border, Mexican immigration authorities reported that they broke up the ring after a raid on Tuesday.
Federal police, agents of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute and prosecutors raided a house where cult members were living across the border from Laredo,Texas, and found cult members, including children, were living in filthy conditions.
Part of a religious cult, the “Defensores de Cristo” or “Defenders of Christ,” allegedly recruited women from all over the world to have sex with a Spanish man, Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba, who claimed he was the reincarnated Jesus Christ.
On the Defenders of Christ website, Gonzalez de Arriba claimed he was Christ reincarnated and juxtaposed photos of himself with paintings of Christ to prove his facial features were “exactly like” Christ’s.
Myrna Garcia, an activist with the Support Network for Cult Victims which filed a complaint with Mexican authorities about the cult’s abuses about one year ago, said Gonzalez de Arriba made people believe he was Christ. “Like Christ, they have to adore him, if not they will lose their souls … they have to give their lives for him.”
An official from the immigration institute, described the cult’s activities as a form of human trafficking and reported that the women were recruited to the sect and then forced to have sex with sect elders. Similarly, an official of a victims’ advocacy group said followers were subjected to either forced labor or sexual services, including prostitution, to pay “tithes” to the cult.
After the raid, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute reported that 14 people were detained during the raid, six from Spain, two from Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela and one from Argentina and Ecuador.
Ten Mexicans were found at the house, but since they were mainly women, it was presumed they were victims of the cult.
The Attorney General’s Office said the investigation was still under way, and said that since many of the members were in the sect for an estimated three years, investigators were still trying to determine which members would be considered victims and which were abusers.
While investigators are still working out the details of the case, it’s thought that the Mexican branch of the Defenders of Christ cult began about three years ago by Gonzalez de Arriba, who previously lived in Brazil and South American nations.
Gonzalez de Arriba reportedly gained cult followers by offering courses on “bio-programming,” which would allow persons to train their brain to eliminate pain, suffering and anxiety.
The Associated Press tried to reach him for comment on Tuesday, but a number on an advertisement for “bio-programming” was disconnected.
Garcia said Gonzalez de Arriba “mixed bio-programming, Christian and New Age doctrines and fears about the end of the world … to control followers, to keep them terrorized.
“There were women who were forced into prostitution,” Garcia noted, adding that it was effective “from the criminal point of view,” because the women were terrified of being separated from the sect.
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