I heard about this on NPR today but have had trouble finding a solid source. The article below will have to serve for now.
The cult of "Santa Muerte," considered the Patron Saint of Criminals and the Dispossessed, has been gaining popularity across Mexico's northern borderlands as the narco economy in the region has exploded. Low-level traffickers, forced to risk their lives and freedom for their livelihood, look to Santa Muerte—also known as "Santa Nina Blanca," or Saint of the White Child—for succor. Popular accounts hold that Santa Muerte will answer prayers from the evil as well as the good—even for a rival's death. Many of the statues are elaborate, marble constructions—some with electric lighting, and often festooned with candles and offerings. The owner of one statue, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation from police, told Texas' El Paso Times he spent $2,000 building his shrine. The actual sacred skeleton image is kept in a small church in Nuevo Laredo's Colonia Morelos neighborhood. The saint is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.
City authorities said the roadside shrines were built without permission on public land. But their destruction enraged Santa Muerte church leaders—including Archbishop David Romo, who in a homily last Sunday called on followers across Mexico to hold protests against the demolitions. "It was both an open act of religious intolerance and an act of arrogance," Romo said. "We are entering a stage of religious and governmental terrorism."