Santeria follower and others head to prison on federal drug charges
Published 6:26 pm, Tuesday, October 7, 2014http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bella ... 780537.php
Francisco Javier Maya, 35, has been ordered to prison following his convictions of conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. A jury convicted Maya Jan. 30, 2014, after two days of trial testimony and approximately six hours of deliberations.
Evidence showed Maya was a follower of the Santeria religion. The jury saw photos of Maya’s residence in Mission, which depicted numerous images of what was considered to be altars showing glasses of alcohol, knives, a machete, kettles, feathers and substances that appeared to be blood. Testimony also included descriptions of two rituals involving the sacrifice of animals.
In December 2012, Maya had a Santeria priest, known as a “Padrino,” perform rituals with the organization to “bless” a 1,000 pound marijuana load that was destined for Houston. After meeting with the Padrino, Maya, Gonzalez-Cavazos and Juarez decided the marijuana load should remain in the Rio Grande Valley. The next day, a second ritual, attended by all five defendants, was performed and the 1,000 pounds of marijuana was to be transported to Houston. However, the marijuana was stolen from the group by unknown individuals that evening. After the theft and a subsequent improvised explosive device detonated at Juarez’s residence in Brownsville, law enforcement was able to piece together the events and conspirators involved in this drug trafficking organization.
Maya will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.