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Fountain Hills Pastor Sold Drugs to Bring People 'Closer to God'

Pastor Mark Derksen has been accused of selling drugs out of his Fountain Hills apartment, The Arizona Republic reports.

Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies arrested Derkson on Wednesday, claiming the pastor sold heroin, meth, and prescription drugs. When questioned, Derksen told authorities that he sold drugs in order to bring people "closer to God," according to the MCSO.

MCSO had information about Derksen for two years, but never had enough evidence to arrest him. That all changed Tuesday when deputies received word that Derksen had sold drugs to at least 30 people in a 24-hour period.

They executed a search warrant on Wednesday, reportedly finding large amounts of heroin, meth, and prescription drugs in the home. Investigators also seized a shotgun, a pistol, and a computer.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he hopes to find the names of Derksen's clients on the computer. According to authorities, Derksen both sold drugs to people and gave them away for free. Investigators believe he did so in order to build his client base by getting people hooked.

Derksen's neighbors weren't surprised by his arrest. "People were walking in and out of the house constantly," Christina Finneran told ABC 15 News. "It was very, very suspicious."

Derksen is currently in the hospital for an unknown illness, so he hasn't yet been booked. When he is booked, however, it will probably be for possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Under Arizona law, any person who possesses dangerous drugs with the intent to sell them is guilty of a Class 2 felony. Dangerous drugs include meth and heroin. If convicted on a meth charge, Derksen could face anywhere from 5 to 15 years in prison.

Derksen used to be a youth counselor and pastor at Faith Mountain Christian Center Church. The church has since closed its doors.

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