Naasón Joaquín García, leader of the La Luz del Mundo church, was arrested Monday and charged with 26 felony counts ranging from human trafficking and production of child pornography to rape of a minor.

Garcia and a church member named Susana Medina Oaxaca, 24, were arrested Monday after landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

Alondra Ocampo, 36, is another church member who was arrested in Los Angeles County on Wednesday and Azalea Rangel Melendez, a fourth defendant, is still at large.

The church leader is being held on a $25 million bail, but a spokesman for the church said Garcia “continues to be the church’s international leader.”

Over 1,000 followers gathered around the church headquarters in Guadalajara, Jalisco on Tuesday night to pray for Garcia.

García’s father, Samuel Joaquín Flores, also once led the church and was accused of sexual abuses between 1997 and 2004.

In 2019, the church has more than 15,000 locations in 58 countries, according to its website.

La Luz del Mundo, which translates to The Light of the World, was started by Garcia’s grandfather in 1926 and now claims more than five million followers.

California police say Garcia pressured victims into performing sex acts by telling them refusal would be going against God and then forcing them to touch each other.

One of the co-defendants was allegedly taking photo documentation of the sex acts and sending them to Garcia.

A church spokesman responded to the accusations, saying, “We categorically deny those false accusations. We know him personally and he is an honorable and honest man.”


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