Religious Leader Praised by Mexico’s Elite Arrested in U.S. Child Sex-Trafficking Probe

Teddy Bear at crime scene. (AP File Photo/Hadi Mizban)
AP File Photo/Hadi Mizban
ILDEFONSO ORTIZ AND BRANDON DARBY

Authorities in California arrested a religious leader who was recently praised 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.

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.”

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.

In the aftermath of the event, Mexican politicians called the event a classical music performance and denied that a government building was used for religious purposes. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for an end to religious intolerance and for more understanding between religions.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.

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