Thoughts on The Finders?
>The Customs report, written by Special Agent Ramon Martinez, recounted a sordid, horrific cluster of events. On February 4, 1987, a concerned citizen notified the Tallahassee Police Department—he had observed six white children, “poorly dressed, bruised, dirty, and behaving like wild animals,” in a Tallahassee park. The children were accompanied by two well-dressed white males driving a white 1979 Dodge van with Virginia plates.
>The Tallahassee police responded to the call and took the children and adults into custody. The adults refused to cooperate, and one produced a business card that stated he planned to exercise his Constitutional right to remain silent. Police officers noted that the children, whose ages ranged from three to six, could not adequately identify themselves or their custodians and were “unaware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions, and toilets.” The children also said that they were not allowed to live indoors and were given food only as a reward. The Tallahassee police charged the two adults with felony child abuse, and they were held on a $100,000 bond. The children were placed in protective custody.
>Police officers found documents in the van that enabled them to tentatively identify the two adults and partially identify the children. They also found documents containing two Washington, DC addresses.
>The Tallahassee police suspected child pornography; they contacted the US Customs Service (USCS), which has a Child Pornography and Protection Unit. Shortly thereafter, Detective James Bradley of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) contacted Special Agent Ramon Martinez of the USCS. Detective Bradley indicated that the Tallahassee arrests were probably linked to a case that he was investigating in the DC area, involving a “cult” called the Finders. An informant had told Bradley that the Finders operated various businesses out of a warehouse in DC and housed children at a second warehouse.
>“The information was specific in describing ‘blood rituals’ and sexual orgies involving children, and an as yet unsolved murder in which the Finders may be involved,” wrote Martinez in his report.
>Bradley told Martinez that the Tallahassee arrests of the two adults for child abuse were the critical mass he needed for warrants to search the two warehouses. And on February 6, the MPD, accompanied by the USCS, executed search warrants on the warehouses. Rummaging through the first warehouse, they found jars of feces and urine and also a room equipped with several computers and printers and a cache of documents.
>“Cursory examination of the documents revealed detailed instructions for obtaining children for unspecified purposes,” wrote Martinez. “The instructions included the impregnation of female members of … the Finders, purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping. There were telex messages using MCI account numbers between a computer terminal believed to be located in the same room, and others located across the country and in foreign locations. One such telex specifically ordered the purchase of two children in Hong Kong to be arranged through a contact in the Chinese Embassy.”
>The investigators also discovered documents that discussed “bank secrecy,” “high-tech transfers,” “terrorism,” and “explosives.” To their astonishment, they even found a detailed summary of the events surrounding the arrests in Tallahassee the previous night and instructions that were broadcast via a computer network. The instructions advised the “participants” to move the “children” through different police jurisdictions, and “how to avoid police attention.”
>Martinez and the MPD officers also found a large collection of photographs. A number of the photos were of nude children, and one appeared to be a child “on display” in a way that accented the “child’s genitals.” An MPD officer then presented Martinez with a photo album. The album contained photos of adults and children dressed in white sheets slaughtering two goats. The photos portrayed the slaughter, disembowelment, skinning, and dismemberment of the goats by the children. The photos showed the removal of the male goat’s testes and the removal of “baby goats” from the female goat’s “womb,” and the presentation of a goat’s head to one of the children.
>“Not observed by me but related by an MPD officer were intelligence files on private families not related to the Finders,” Martinez continued in his report. “The process undertaken appears to be have been a systematic response to local newspaper advertisements for baby-sitters, tutors, etc. A member of the Finders would respond and gather as much information as possible about the habits, identity, occupation, etc., of the family. The use to which this information was to be put is still unknown. There was also a large amount of data collected on various child care organizations.”
>Approximately a month after the MPD executed the warrant, Agent Martinez set up an appointment with Detective Bradley to review the documents that had been seized at the two warehouses. His report stated that he was to meet with Bradley in early April. On April 2, 1987, Agent Martinez arrived at MPD headquarters at approximately 9:00 A.M., and he was in for a shock. Detective Bradley was unavailable, but he spoke to a “third party” who was willing to discuss the Finders only on a “strictly off the record basis.”
>“The individual further advised me of circumstances which indicated that the investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter,” Agent Martinez concluded in his report. “The MPD report has been classified secret and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired. No further information will be available. No further action will be taken.”