The Mexican authorities have found a black magic altar and a beheaded chicken in an apartment used by migrants tying to reach the US.
The discovery took place in the city of Escobedo in the north-eastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon last week.
Police received an anonymous call about noises and strange smells coming from a flat in the neighbourhood of Jardines.
When they arrived at the apartment, a man of Cuban origin identified as Reynaldo was found there. He is believed to be the leader of a sect that used black magic rituals to protect the travelling migrants.
Six people from the Dominican Republic, one from Guatemala, and three Mexican women have been arrested.
During the raid, the authorities found a beheaded chicken in the back courtyard that was apparently used in a ritual.
The police said that an altar with statues and a figure of the Cuban deity Elegua was also found inside the house along with offerings and alcoholic drinks.
Elegua in Latin America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands is a deity of roads in the religions of Santeria, Umbanda, Quimbanda, and Candomble.
Devotees believe Elegua, also spelled Eleggua, provides luck and prosperity on the road, and chickens are commonly used as an offering.
The detainees were handed over to the immigration authorities who confirmed they were in Mexico illegally.
The newspaper Infobae said the Mexican authorities have stepped up the number of arrests near the US border due to the increase in human trafficking cases.
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