The Substitute Saints of Drug Trafficking: An Interview with U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte


What are some of the rituals or patron saints you’ve observed as important figures in the lives of the drug traffickers you pursue, and where do these icons/figures come from? Why have the popularity of these figures spread throughout Mexico beyond only criminals? 
There are several patron saints that I have observed as important figures in the Mexican drug underworld. There are those that are legitimate Catholic saints and there are those that are not, but instead have been given saint-like status by their followers. All of them are being used by the criminals as well as by people not involved in criminal activity. The criminals who invoke the Catholic saints believe that, by doing this, the saints will protect them and their drugs from law enforcement.

Shrine to Saint Muerte

Awesome story from on Being about the Mexican drug cartel La Familia, who pray to Catholic saints, both canonized and illegitimate, for assistance in the drug trafficking world.