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Arizona pastor accused of selling people drugs "to bring them closer to God"

  1. Rob Cypher
    A Fountain Hills pastor arrested Wednesday is accused of selling drugs to people to “bring them closer to God,” according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

    Deputies received information that Mark Derksen, 63, was selling drugs out of his apartment to 30 people Tuesday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

    A search warrant was issued for Derksen’s apartment where deputies found large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and prescription drugs, Arpaio said.

    Officials believe the Faith Mountain Christian Church, where Derksen is a pastor, is currently for sale. Arpaio said it is unknown whether or not Derksen ever sold drugs at the church.

    A 36-year-old woman was also arrested at the apartment for outstanding warrants for drug-related activity and suspicion of possession, Arpaio said.

    The drugs were seized at the scene along with a shotgun and a small caliber pistol, Arpaio said.

    Deputies also seized Derksen’s phone and computer. Arpaio said he hopes a search of the phone and computer will reveal Derksen’s clients and possibly his supplier.

    “I want to know all the people who went to his house to buy drugs,” Arpaio said.

    Derksen admitted to giving drugs to people to “bring them closer to God,” Arpaio said.

    Arpaio said what’s unusual about this case is that Derksen is giving drugs to people for free while selling drugs to others. Officials believe Derksen did this to get people hooked on the drugs so he could get more clients.

    Derksen is a user himself and is currently in the hospital for an unknown illness, Arpaio said.

    MCSO has had information about Derksen for two years but has not had enough evidence to arrest him until now, Arpaio said.



  1. nitehowler
    Maybe i should go to church more often.Just goes to show that people from all walks of life indulge in drug activities.
  2. runnerupbeautyqueen
    Is this just an AZ thing or is it normal for LE to arrest dealers and then try to find their customers? I always assumed cops wanted to work their way UP the chain of command. What good is arresting users who can't point them to a dealer? I know this is Sheriff Joe and all but I can't even imagine him wanting to waste the time and resources just to track down people who weren't even buying drugs, just using them.

    Pastors don't make that much money, how was he affording to just give away a bunch of drugs? I think that should be the question here, one I would definitely be asking if I were a decent, hardworking person who dropped a twenty in the donation basket every week for the last 20 years.

    Also, Fountain Hills is a super nice area. Gated communities with security guards, fountains, golf courses, etc. I want to know how none of his neighbors or the security in his area noticed a bunch of junkies coming and going. This is not the kind of area where people turn a blind eye to anything, least of all a heroin dealer.
  3. coolhandluke
    i have a good idea of how the police around here operate when a dealer is arrested, and ive NEVER heard of the police pressing people for names of customers who are buying personal amounts of drugs. the cops will look through phones and texts but i doubt they are thinking about finding info about drug users. sometimes police will go down the ladder however, like if someone is busted with a large amount of drugs the police might consider having them meet with someone lower down the chain (but still a dealer) to sell to and then bust with the drugs they just bought. a few times ive brought this up to people who are dealing with a suspected snitch, they say "i know they aren't setting me up because im buying the drugs not selling" and i warn them of the above scenario.
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