The leader of La Luz del Mundo church, a Mexico-based religious organization with a church in Phoenix, Naasón Joaquín García (Joaquín García), has been arrested for alleged human trafficking, production of child pornography, forcible rape of a minor, and other felonies.
Garcia was a pastor in the Phoenix area 25 years ago and was honored in Phoenix last year.
La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World) church is an international religious organization headquartered in Mexico with reportedly more than one million followers worldwide.
García and his co-defendants Alondra Ocampo, Azalea Rangel Melendez, and Susana Medina Oaxaca allegedly committed these crimes between 2015 and 2018 while leading La Luz Del Mundo.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the charges are the result of an investigation initiated in 2018 by the California Department of Justice (Cal DOJ) thanks to information submitted to Cal DOJ through the clergy abuse online complaint form. In the criminal complaint filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Department of Justice (Cal DOJ) alleges Joaquín García and his co-defendants committed 26 felonies in Southern California over a period of approximately four years
Court documents allege García and his co-defendants coerced victims into performing sexual acts by telling them that if they went against any of his desires or wishes as “the Apostle,” that they were going against God.
“Crimes like those alleged in this complaint have no place in our society. Period,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We must not turn a blind eye to sexual violence and trafficking in our state. At the California Department of Justice, we will do everything we can to prevent and combat these heinous crimes so that our communities are safe. If you see something, report it and we will vigorously pursue justice.”
“This is a prime example of the exceptional vigilance of CBP officers at LAX in conducting their border security duties.” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “The man and women of CBP apprehend individuals with outstanding warrants on a regular basis bringing them to justice, therefore ensuring the safety and security of the communities we serve.”