Four more ex-followers of the late guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh have been arrested on charges of conspiring to kill U.S. Atty. Charles Turner, the Justice Department announced Friday.
The announcement was made three days after another former disciple of the guru, known for his fleet of Rolls-Royce automobiles and “free love” philosophy, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Alma Peralta, who was known in the sect as Ma Dhyan Yogini, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.
Prosecutors said Peralta’s plea was the first step toward prosecution of Ma Anand Sheela, the former personal secretary to the guru, who allegedly handpicked members of the assassination team.
Federal prosecutors refused to comment on Sheela on Friday or say if other arrests were expected, but they confirmed that the investigation was continuing.
Sheela earlier served 29 months of a 4 1/2-year federal prison term on a host of felonies, ranging from attempted murder to conspiracy to commit electronic eavesdropping on the sect’s 64,000-acre ranch and commune in central Oregon.
On her release in December, 1988, Sheela was put on a plane to West Germany before Oregon officials could order her returned in an effort to seek $269,000 in unpaid fines.