Santeria healer wanted on grand theft charges
By Jeremy Lipps
May 29, 2007
Police are searching for one of two brothers who allegedly used
spirituality to scam hundreds of victims out of thousands of dollars
in the South Bay, San Jose police announced today.
Since November 2006, police have been investigating a faith healer
named John Alexander Manrique Salazar, 23, of San Jose, who called
himself "Master Alexander,'' and advertised that he could
solve personal and relationship problems.
In August 2006, an Oakland woman called the advertised phone
number and talked to a group called Comunidad Esotorica located
at 1140 Pedro St. in San Jose, according to police.
The Pedro Street office had an altar room with statues of Jesus
and the Virgin Mary as well as a pentagram and candles and other
items associated with Santeria, Catholicism and Wicca, San Jose
police Detective Manuel Jurado said.
After telling her story to the alleged healers about problems
with her infant daughter, a man named John Salazar told her the
child was cursed and needed saving. John Salazar allegedly said
he could save the child's life for a fee.
The victim gave John Salazar more than $10,000 for a month-long
treatment, police reported.
An investigation revealed a second suspect, Carlos Manrique Salazar,
34, of San Jose, and hundreds of additional victims who paid thousands
of dollars for various treatments.
The brothers allegedly preyed on people throughout the Bay Area
using Santeria, a mix of Afro-Caribbean and Catholic beliefs.
The healers allegedly used Hispanic media to get their message
out, including ads in Spanish language radio and print.
Jurado called the investigation long and tedious and said John
Salazar had agreed to turn himself into authorities.
"He made a commitment he was going to self-surrender but
he went sideways on that,'' Jurado said.
Jurado turned the case over to the Santa Clara County District
Attorney's Office and the suspects were charged with five counts
of grand theft with false pretense and one count of attempted
Carlos Salazar was arrested in Houston after returning on a flight
from Colombia and is now in custody, but police are still searching
for John Salazar, whom they say could still be practicing in the
Bay Area as a faith healer.
Investigators are encouraging anyone with information on this
case or suspect John Salazar's whereabouts to contact Jurado at
For those wishing to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at
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