The body of the alleged "godfather" of a drug-smuggling cult blamed for up to 23 killings in Mexico remained unclaimed Thursday, and the cult's alleged "witch" and six other suspects were moved to a high-security prison, authorities said.
Dr. Fernando Garcia Rojas, director of forensics for the Mexico City district attorney's office, said there has been no official request for the body of Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, a Cuban-American whose family lives in Miami.Garcia said an unclaimed body typically is buried within three weeks.
"But," he said, "in this case we will keep the body indefinitely, all the time we feel is necessary, because it can always be used for further tests that might help in criminal investigations. We will try to get the maximum that the body can yield."
He said that tests to confirm use of drugs were still in progress.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico, citing the Privacy Act, refused to say whether family members have initiated proceedings to claim Constanzo's body.
Garcia said he understands why Constanzo's relatives have not approached Mexican authorities to claim the body of the alleged "godfather" of the drug-running cult that is suspected of carrying out ritualistic killings in the belief the slayings would somehow protect its drug-trafficking activities.
"You would be reticent to come forth too," he said, "because you might be accused of being in the cult as well."
The bodies of Constanzo and his main lieutenant and lover, Martin Quintana Rodriguez, were found in a closet in a Mexico City apartment after a shootout with police Saturday. Constanzo's body was riddled with bullets.
Suspects have told authorities Constanzo ordered another cult member to kill him and Quintana after Constanzo realized police had surrounded the apartment building where they were hiding out.
A Mexico City District Attorney spokesman said the seven suspects who have been arrested since Saturday's shootout were moved to the high-security Reclusorio Oriente prison, in the eastern part of Mexico City.
Authorities said they will seek a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison for the allleged "witch," Sara Aldrete Villarreal, 24; Omar Francisco Orea, 23, and Alvaro de Leon Valdez, 22.