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      Money laundering case leads to cash, Santa Muerte shrines

      Aurora Lopez

      Smoke from a lit cigarette was being used as incense for the Santa Muerte when authorities arrived.

      The offering is used to hide illegal activities and to confuse law enforcement officials.

      But authorities said in the end, the shrine and the skull-faced idol within didn't help a San Benito couple.

      Cameron County Precinct 7 deputy constables arrested 36-year-old Aurora Lopez on money laundering charges late last week.

      Investigators told Action 4 News that they believe that she and her husband Homero Lopez were laundering money for drug traffickers.

      But deputy constables believe Homero Lopez fled to Mexico while Aurora Lopez stayed at the couple's home off Resaca Vista Drive in San Benito.

      Court records show authorities found more than $148,750 dollars buried three feet under the backyard of the couple's home back in October.

      Deputy constables reported finding a shrine to Santa Muerte in a shed at the couple's home and another one at the couple's business.

      Authorities issued a warrant for couple's arrest but in November but only recently made an arrest.

      Court records show that the couple has a pending federal lawsuit against authorities related to the October search and seizure.

      Their attorney Guillermo Vega, Jr. could not be reached for comment but the lawsuit alleges that the allegations against the couple are false.

      Jail records show that Aurora Lopez appeared before a Cameron County magistrate judge where she was issued a $50,000 dollar bond.

      Lopez posted bond but her money laundering case remains pending.

      Court records show that authorities had previously arrested Aurora Lopez in a felony drug case back in October 2005 but that case was later dismissed.