FOUNTAIN HILLS - The Maricopa County Sheriff's office says a former pastor at the Faith Mountain Christian Center Church has been selling drugs to multiple people.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said deputies got word Tuesday that Pastor Mark Derksen, Sr., 63, was selling drugs to at least 30 people in a 24 hour period from his condo.
Authorities issued a search warrant on Derksen's house where they found heroin, prescription drugs, a shotgun and pistol. Deputies also seized computers and cell phones from the home. Investigators are searching through the devices to determine the names of Derksen's buyers.
Arpaio told reporters that Derksen believed he would "bring people closer to God," by helping them get off of drugs, but in reality, he was helping them become addicts.
Another woman at the home was also arrested for drug possession.
Derksen's neighbors did not seem surprised by the news of his arrest.
"People were walking in and out of the house constantly," said Christina Finneran. "It was very, very suspicious."
Arpaio said Derksen was a youth counselor and also ministered at nursing homes.
Deputies believe Derksen got people hooked by giving the drugs to them for free.
Arpaio said MCSO deputies have been investigating Derksen for two years, but were not able to develop probable cause to arrest him until Tuesday.
Authorities said the Faith Mountain Christian Center Church is up for sale, and is not believed to be operational at this time.
Derksen is currently hospitalized, but it is unclear what his injuries are.
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