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UPS drug case: Police say severed goat and cat heads found

Consistent with cult of “Saint of Death”
Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 11:14:48-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - There's a disturbing new angle to the UPS drug trafficking case.

Police say they found severed goat and cat heads -- at one of the locations they searched.

The items are consistent with a cult popular in the drug trade: Santa Muerte.

Santa Muerte basically translates as holy death.

She is effectively the patron saint of criminals, especially those in the drug trade, and investigators say they found items dedicated to Santa Muerte in one of the spots searched in the UPS drug trafficking case.

Our first hints of what we'd later know as the UPS drug trafficking case came with a tip about a raid on a mansion near Oro Valley. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, and officers from several police departments searched the home.

RELATED: Arizona man arrested, multi-million-dollar home raided in HSI money laundering, drug investigation

At the home of Raul Garcia Cordova, they seized fancy cars, and said inside they found marijuana, money, and machinery to make vape pens that deliver THC, the chemical that gives marijuana most of its high.

The raid was the product of a two year investigation by Tucson Police attached to the Counter Narcotics Alliance. A TPD detective in that probe confirmed to KGUN9 they also found a severed cat head, a severed goat head and other items consistent with the cult of Santa Muerte.

An FBI report links Santa Muerte followers to ritualized killings including beheadings.

Killings are not part of the allegations against the twelve people charged in the UPS case. Two former supervisors and two former drivers are charged with using their knowledge of the UPS system to move drugs and drug money along with normal packages. Other defendants in the case are charged with shipping drugs and money laundering---taking steps to hide where drug money came from.

RELATED: UPS drivers, supervisors implicated in Tucson drug trafficking investigation

One continuing mystery in this case is the identity of defendant number seven. That person has not been arrested and his or her name is blanked out in the indictment.