Cult Watch: Agape Ministries Another Waco Waiting In The Wings?

This comes from Religion News Blog:

The assets are frozen, arrests have been made, a huge cache of weapons and ammunition seized and the main man, convicted thief turned charismatic cult leader Rocco Leo, is in hiding.

But a month after South Australian police raided more than a dozen properties associated with the bizarre Adelaide-based Agape Ministries doomsday cult, several questions remain unanswered.

Most concern Leo, the 52-year-old former coffee shop proprietor also known as Brother Roc who is presumed to be somewhere in the Pacific, most likely Fiji or Vanuatu, and who may still be looking to buy the island paradise he has promised a core group of 60 to 70 followers.

Here, according to the comical story Leo concocted in Adelaide, the Agape faithful will be able to escape an evil force that is micro-chipping the world’s population in the lead-up to 2012, when all humanity will be programmed for extinction.

But nobody has seen Leo for a month and the SA police haven’t issued a warrant for his arrest. So it raises the question: is Leo really a dangerous fugitive?

It certainly seemed that way after 90 police last month raided the Agape Ministries’ fortress-like compound in the Adelaide Hills, its $5 million headquarters and several other cult-connected properties in and around the city.

The police seized about 20 illegal guns, assault batons, detonators, fuses for explosives and more than 35,000 rounds of ammunition.

Follow-up raids during the next two days uncovered more weapons and a further 30,000 rounds of ammunition, though not a number of high-powered automatic and semi-automatic firearms police know exist and are anxious to locate.

According to one former cult member, the purpose of stockpiling all this firepower was to protect the cult from its enemies, who could, Leo had explained to his followers, include the police.

Not surprisingly, this has seen Leo and the Agape Ministries portrayed as a Waco-in-waiting, a reference to the infamous 1993 Texas shootout that killed four FBI agents and 75 Branch Davidian followers of David Koresh, 21 of them children.

The Waco siege lasted 51 days and the Davidian arsenal included a 50-calibre cannon, machineguns and more than a million rounds of ammunition, but Detective Superintendent Jim Jeffery, head of the SA police commercial and electronic crime branch who is in charge of the Agape Ministries investigation, doesn’t dismiss the comparison….

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