There is a growing movement within the indigenous criminal cultures of Mexico that is rapidly finding its way into the United States. Members of drug cartels and powerful organized crime syndicates are turning in droves to non-canonized “folk saints” for protection and guidance in their unlawful pursuits.
Shrouded in mystery, with secrets carefully guarded by its followers, Santa Muerte has become the most recognizable patron saint associated with criminals south of the border. Considered by some to be the fastest growing religion in the world, the history and development of the cult of Santa Muerte has been the subject of much speculation and conjecture.
A complex and multifaceted religious movement, Santa Muerte is steeped in occult ritual and symbolism that stems from a multitude of cultures and sources. Those truly devoted to this practice rarely share what they know with outsiders, and this reality has lead to many so-called “experts” trying to fill in the gaps with misinformation gleaned from unreliable sources.
Having worked in law enforcement and security operations in Northern Mexico for over a decade, Ed Calderon has painstakingly peeled back the layers of this cult. Not only has he seen the realities of the criminal worship of Santa Muerte and other nefarious “folk saints” first hand in it’s homeland, but he has also spent years conducting independent research into its practice, speaking with devotees first hand and learning about elements of Santa Muerte that are almost always exclusively reserved for its most devoted followers.
Santa Muerte is quickly gaining traction within the United Staes and finding its way into the hands of criminals in our country. As Santa Muerte becomes more and more prevalent within our criminal culture, understanding its practice and the psychology of its followers is becoming imperative for our law enforcement agencies and security professionals.
Topics covered will include:
-The correlation between criminal groups and fringe religious/cult beliefs
-The study of criminal-specific saints and “folk saints” such as Santa Muerte, Saint Malverde, and Saint Juan Soldado
-In depth analysis of symbology, body art, and criminal use of religious iconography
-Occult practices and how they manifest in various public acts of violence by criminal groups
-Personal accounts of experiences with these criminal groups and their cult practices