NEW YORK (VINnews) — More details have emerged about the Friday raid at the Lev Tahor compound in Tapachula, situated in Mexico’s Chiapas state in far southern Mexico, as well as the current conditions of members of the cult.Join our WhatsApp group
Mexican federal police, with the help of a volunteer team of Israelis including former Mossad agents and former members of the cult, stormed the Lev Tahor compound Friday morning, according to a BBC report citing Israeli sources close to the operation.
Israel’s foreign ministry, which had initiated the raid to rescue Israeli citizens trapped in the cult’s compound, said that 26 people were found in the compound on Friday, and that two of them, a Canadian and an Israeli citizen, were arrested on charges of human trafficking and sex offenses including rape.
Five more were detained for allegedly breaking immigration rules, and the remaining members, including children, are being housed by the Mexican Ministry of Welfare, Israel said.
Children in the group were quickly separated from the adults, due to fears that sect members would rather kill them than surrender custody, Israeli sources said.
The sources added that among those taken into custody in the raid were Israelis with dual citizenships including Canada, the US and Guatemala.
Lev Tahor members in Mexico claim that they are being held in ‘subhuman conditions’ at facility in Huixtla, and that they are being persecuted for their beliefs by the Israeli government, Diario de Chiapas reported.
The families detained in the raid also insisted they had the proper authorization and paperwork to live in Mexico. After some members attempted to escape custody, the security around those being held was tightened.
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Lev Tahor members in custody hurl items at policemen
Nachman Helbrans, the son of the group’s founder, was convicted of kidnapping and child sexual exploitation crimes last year.