LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today charged the leader of the Mexico-based La Luz del Mundo megachurch with two felony counts alleging he produced and possessed child sexual abuse material (CSAM) depicting a 16-year-old victim.
Naasón Joaquín García, 54, previously served as a minister for the church in Santa Ana and, from December 2014, led the church in Mexico. He was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in June 2019 on state child sexual exploitation charges.
In today’s two-count federal indictment, García is charged with one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
García is expected to make his initial court appearance and be arraigned in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
According to the indictment, on May 6, 2019, García knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor – identified in the indictment as “Minor Victim 1,” who was 16 years old at the time – to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.
On June 3, 2019, García allegedly possessed an iPad that contained five videos depicting Minor Victim 1 engaging in sexual activity. Law enforcement seized the iPad when García was arrested at LAX.
García has been in state custody since then and in June 2022 he pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible oral copulation on a minor and one count of committing a lewd act on a child. He is serving a 17-year prison sentence for those crimes and is incarcerated at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of both federal charges, García would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for the child pornography production count and a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for the child pornography possession count.
The FBI and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation are investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Catharine A. Richmond of the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting this case.