The leader of an international religious organization, praised by Mexico’s elites, has been arrested by US law enforcement on charges of child rape, child trafficking, and other felonies, according to reports.
Authorities in California arrested Naason Joaquin Garcia, who was recently honored in Mexico’s most famous museum, the Bellas Artes Palace.
The religious leader is named in a multicount sex-trafficking indictment targeting key leaders of the Light of the World Church (Iglesia Luz Del Mundo) and its top leader Naason Joaquin Garcia.
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California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrest and indictment and shared the 26-count indictment on his page.
According to Becerra, “Joaquín García and his co-defendants allegedly 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… have no place in our society. Period,” Mr. Becerra said.
“We must not turn a blind eye to sexual violence and trafficking in our state.”
Mr García’s co-defendants have been named as Alondra Ocampo, Azalea Rangel Meléndez and Susana Medina Oaxaca. They are all affiliated with La Luz del Mundo.
Breitbart reports: News of the arrest spread like wildfire in Mexico where the Luz Del Mundo Church is headquartered. The church is alleged to have more than 250,000 followers including some of Mexico’s elite.
The group has been likened to a cult that preys on the poor. According to Mexico’s SinEmbargo.Mx, the church denied the allegations against their leader, claiming to know the “honorable and exemplary life” of the “Apostle Nasoon Joaquin (Garcia)”.
In recent days, Joaquin Garcia sparked controversy in Mexico after the country’s Cultural Secretariat opened the state-owned museum Bellas Artes Palace for a gala apparently honoring the controversial religious leader. Government officials claim the event was a classical music and opera performance and not religious in nature.
According to SimEmbargo.Mx, those in attendance at the event included Mexico’s Senate Leader Marti Batres Guadarrama and famed actor turned Congressman Sergio Mayer. Another political leader, Senator Israel Zamora, requested the use of the venue.