The leader of an international religious organisation is being held in the US on charges of human trafficking, child rape and other felonies.
Naasón Joaquín García, who heads La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World) church, was detained at Los Angeles airport, California prosecutors said.
Mr García, known as “the Apostle” among his followers, and his three female co-defendants are facing 26 charges.
La Luz del Mundo said it was confident Mr García would be proven innocent.
The organisation, which has headquarters in Mexico, says it has baptised more than five million people around the globe.
It claims to have at least 1.8 million followers in Mexico alone. However, only 188,326 people stated their religion as being Luz del Mundo, says Mexico’s official census (in Spanish) carried out in 2010.
In recent years the church’s influence has spread to the US, particularly in parts of California with large Hispanic populations.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written and originally published at BBC News. Title changed by P&P.]
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