More ammunition found in shipping container linked to Agape Ministries leader Rocco Leo

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The Herald-Sun, Australia/May 22, 2010

Police believe they know where Adelaide doomsday cult leader Rocco Leo and two of his henchmen are hiding.

After a third day of raids yesterday which uncovered ammunition in one of five shipping containers so far searched by police, the mother of one of the Agape Ministries founding members told AdelaideNow she had complained of their activities months ago to Families SA.

Lesley Baligod claims she told Families SA that her two grandchildren, girls aged six and eight, had been promised in marriage to middle-aged men.

The Agape Ministeries leaders, who believe the Apocalypse is coming in 2012, espouse a puritanical life which forbids swearing and sex before marriage.

According to one Adelaide couple who say they were lucky to escape the cult's clutches, Leo and his inner sanctum of disciples have free rein to choose congregation members' daughters as their "little brides" once they reach legal age.

Mrs Baligod said she believed her granddaught had been living with a senior cult member known as "The Enforcer" - a man responsible for carrying out death threats on anyone planning to leave the church.

Mrs Baligod said her eight-year-old granddaughter had been promised in marriage to "The Enforcer" and the six-year-old to another senior "thug".

She said at least 12 children were associated with the cult.

Senior staffers from Families SA spent 30 minutes with the two young girls yesterday and an hour with Raphael and his wife.

The girls' parents denied they had been living with another cult member or that the organisation was preparing for the end of the world.

Families SA said they found no evidence that the children were in any danger.

Former cult member John said "Brother Rock" preaches that "there is no Jesus, there is no God, there are no Saints and there are no Angels".

"There is just the Lord and Brother Rock, who is the anointed Man of God," John explained.

Aligned with similar 2012 Doomsday theories, convicted criminal Leo has convinced his flock that the Earth's population will be unwittingly implanted with mind-controlling microchips.

"They truly believe in this Armageddon, you know, the end of the world in 2012," John said.

"That's what he kept saying, 'We are going to run out of time because all the people in the world are going to have these chips'."

John said Leo also preached that once the microchips were inside everyone, they could be monitored by omnipotent powers who could "flick a switch" and have anyone killed at a moment's notice.

On Thursday, police raided 12 properties owned by the sect in Adelaide and south of the city, including its Oakden headquarters, and charged four men.

They began the hunt for Leo and two of his associates after former members alleged he was behind a scheme involving millions of dollars donated by sect members.

Superintendent Jim Jeffery said police yesterday found metal bed frames inside a shipping container dumped behind an O.G. Rd business in Klemzig.

They contained a hidden cache of ammunition, which police say appear to have been packed ready for transport overseas.

Supt Jeffery said police had a "fair idea" of where to find the missing cult leader.

"We've been able to ascertain where we believe Mr Leo and two of his close leaders are and at this point in time - or at an appropriate time - we will attempt to locate and speak to them," he said.

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