Mexican immigration authorities broke up an alleged sex cult along the U.S. border on Tuesday.
According to Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, 14 foreigners who associated themselves with a cult group called Defensores de Cristo, or Defenders of Christ, were detained for recruiting and forcing victims to have sex with a Spanish man claiming to be a reincarnation of Christ.
Followers of the cult were also forced into prostitution or labor, according to the Immigration Institute, but due to the loyalties ingrained into those involved with the cult, authorities are having a difficult time differentiating between victims and abusers.
Of the 14 arrested, six were Spaniards, two from Brazil, two from Bolivia, two from Venezuela, one from Argentina and one from Ecuador. Ten others were found in the house that was raided, all of whom were Mexican and believed to be victims of the cult.
The cult’s website claims the leader to be Spaniard Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba, who arrived in Mexico three years ago to start the cult sect.
The Defensores de Cristo is not registered as an official religious organization in Mexico, as is required under Mexican law.
Myrna Garcia, a coordinator for the Support Network for Victims of Cults, is working with the victims of the cult and said that Gonzales de Arriba is “very dangerous” and manipulative.
“He was able to convince them [the victims] that they had to behave in certain ways to satisfy his economic and sexual needs,” Garcia said.
She also believes that other cells of the cult may be active in Peru and Argentina.