A Satanism expert is teaching police at a five-day seminar that has drawn about 80 participants to recognize signs of devil worship.

The State Police-sponsored seminar on cults and the occult was planned before the discovery earlier this month of a ritual multiple slaying blamed on drug smugglers in Matamoros, Mexico.Even before that discovery, "we had inquiries from law enforcement groups from throughout the state wanting to know if we had any seminars on the topic," State Police Lt. Dan Ducote said by telephone from Baton Rouge, where the seminar is being held.

"There's a lot of interest. A lot of officers had read in the news media about areas with animal mutilations and such. They wanted some knowledge on how to recognize the signs," said Ducote.

The five-day seminar, which began Monday and involves law enforcement officers from around the state, is taught by Tom Wedge, author of "The Satan Hunter." He has been a guest on several national television talk shows.

"I wanted to know the difference between fact and fiction, what's rumor and what's fact in what's occurring in Satanism," said Trooper Bob Buckley, a homicide investigator.

Ducote said devil worship is not illegal. "But most of the activity is a front for dealing in drugs," he said.

Some ministers and businessmen recently announced plans to ask the Legislature to outlaw Satanism.