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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Suspect Targeted Authorities with Voodoo Dolls

Ruben Hernandez, a used car-dealer from Pasadena, California, was accused of fraud in 2008. In 2009, Hernandez was taken into custody following a high-speed car chase. When authorities searched his home, they found "a shrine with a cross and all kinds of skeletons and stuff," as a Los Angeles district attorney described it. At the center of the altar (which is what the "shrine" was) were three effigies, labeled with the DA's name, as well as the names of two investigators. The dolls were also labeled with criminal case numbers, had pins through their eyes, and were dunked upside-down in a container of brown liquid. "Even the U.S. marshals were spooked," the DA said.

Authorities believe Hernandez was a practitioner of Palo Mayombe, a Caribbean religion popular in the days of slavery. The religion is known for its animal sacrifices and curses. The effigies are thought to have been part of a Palo Mayombe ritual. The religion has become popular amongst drug dealers, and experts believe as many as 40,000 Americans follow it.

Hernandez was charged with numerous counts stemming from a house-buying scam in which fake social security numbers were used. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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