The violence and drug trafficking spread by Latin American drug cartels and criminal street gangs is spreading. Narco-terrorist acts involving ritualistic murder and targeted assassinations are growing throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Many of these groups are utilizing various religious ideologies and customs to seek protection from rival organizations and police.
Traditional African and Latin American religions such as Santeria, Voodoo and Palo Mayombe are being appropriated by drug traffickers. Mexican drug cartels such as La Famlia Michoacána and Los Caballeros Templarios commit acts of drug smuggling, assaults and murder in the name of religion. Similar patterns are developing among international human smuggling and trafficking rings where West African Voodoo is being used to exercise control over victims and members of these organizations.
Lastly, cultural patterns have developed among the narco culture where street level dealers are using a number of Latin folk saints such as Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde to gain protection from law enforcement. Many of them carrying amulets and icons devoted to the saints.
The focus of this Investigating Crimes Involving the Narco Culture training is to provide officers with an in-depth knowledge of Afro-Caribbean religions including Santeria, Palo Mayombe, Dominican and Haitian Voodoo. Officers will also learn about Mexican folk cultures and folk saints and how they are being used by drug trafficking organizations. This program will prepare the officer to recognize and explain the symbols and artifacts found in the course of criminal investigations associated with AfroCaribbean and Latin American cultures. Officers will be trained to investigate and recognize rituals, customs and the appropriation by drug and human traffickers.
Course Objectives At the conclusion of this training seminar, the participants will be able to:
a. Recognize and explain the symbols, artifacts and ritual paraphernalia found on the course of drug related and other criminal investigations associated with various cultural traditions b. Explain and interpret the cultural aspects of the various cultures including altars, rituals, ceremonies and the presence of material culture (artifacts) at crime scenes. c. Discern between ‘unconventional’ legal based religious groups and criminal based religious groups d. Identify social networks among drug trafficking organizations based on cultural practices e. Identify possible bio-hazardous materials and threats to officer safety at scenes involving Afro-Caribbean and Latin American cultures Investigations:
Types of Criminal Activity: Drug Trafficking, Ritualistic Crimes, Human Trafficking
The Scene: Processing the Scene, Locations of Latent Prints, Identification and Collection of Physical Evidence, Identification of Bio-Hazards, Transporting Evidence
Forensic Aspects: Identification of Animal and Human Remains, Identification of Tattoos and Ritualistic Markings, Threats and Sociolinguistics, Toxicology Issues