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Minister arrested on drug charges

Anthony Martinez Garduno, a 51-year-old church leader who was shot three months ago during a burglary attempt at his church in Home Gardens, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of selling drugs from his church, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities say that on Dec. 21, deputies from the Jurupa Valley Station responded to a call of an alleged sexual assault at Our Lady of Tepeyac church in the 13400 block of Magnolia Avenue in Home Gardens, an unincorporated area of Riverside County.

The caller also told authorities that methamphetamine was being sold at the church.

On Tuesday, Sheriff’s Department investigators executed a search warrant at the church and located “evidence indicative of Garduno selling narcotics from the church,” authorities said.

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Investigators said they also “located evidence of possible sexual assaults having occurred at the church.”

Garduno was arrested on charges of drug violations and receiving stolen goods.

He is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center on $25,000 bail.

In September, Garduno was wounded in a shooting during a robbery attempt outside his church, authorities said.

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Garduno was taken to a local hospital, where he recovered.

At the time, he told police that he had encountered four juveniles when he was shot.

Neither Garduno, who calls himself a bishop, nor Our Lady of Tepeyac church are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

ruben.vives@latimes.com


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