SACRAMENTO – On June 4, 2019 the California Department of Justice announced the arrest and filing of charges against Naasón Joaquín García (Joaquín García) and several co-defendants for alleged human trafficking, production of child pornography, forcible rape of a minor, and other felonies.
Joaquín García and his co-defendants allegedly committed these crimes between 2015 and 2018 in Southern California while leading La Luz Del Mundo, an international religious organization headquartered in Mexico with reportedly over one million followers worldwide.
"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."
In the criminal complaint filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Department of Justice alleges Joaquín García and his co-defendants committed 26 felonies in over a period of approximately four years. 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.
"Details listed in the criminal complaint, not only anger and repulse, but my thoughts are with those agents who worked with the victims and their families to fully investigate the alleged crimes against children," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "Our thoughts are with the victims and thank you to the law enforcement officers who did their jobs to investigate and arrest these suspects."
The co-defendants, all of whom are affiliated with La Luz Del Mundo, named in the complaint are:
- Alondra Ocampo,
- Azalea Rangel Melendez,
- and Susana Medina Oaxaca.
In addition to Joaquín García, Alondra Ocampo and Susana Medina Oaxaca were also arrested. An arrest warrant has also been issued for Azalea Rangel Melendez, who is currently at large.
Defendants facing state criminal allegations are eligible for bail in most cases, allowing them to await future court dates out of police custody if they have the financial resources to post bail. In this case, the court set bail for Joaquín García at $25 million.
The arrests and charges were the result of an investigation initiated by the California Department of Justice. The investigation began in 2018, in part, because of information submitted to the California Department of Justice through the clergy abuse online complaint form. The arrests were the result of a joint effort between the California Department of Justice and a number of law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Los Angeles Airport Police.
A copy of the complaint is available here.