Missionaries of Quiboloy’s KJC ‘traumatized’ by raids
MANILA, Philippines — Missionaries of the Philippine-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) Christian church in Los Angeles and in Hawaii said Wednesday they were “traumatized” by the surprise raids of armed federal agents on their offices and compounds last January 29.
The raids stemmed from a human trafficking investigation that led to the arrests of three church leaders for allegedly participating in an immigration fraud scheme that brought KJC followers to the United States to raise funds for an alleged bogus charity.
In a statement, Annabelle Juarana, a church missionary in Van Nuys neighborhood in Los Angeles said she had “never experienced anything like this” when armed men broke down the door to her house and aimed guns at them.
Kapitanna, 22, said they were lined up outside to be handcuffed and helicopters were circling the compound, telling them to raise their hands.
“This was something that we only saw in the movies and now it was happening to us. We’re just church missionaries here, we have no guns or anything. We have nothing to hide,” Kapitanna said.
He added they were gathered in the worship center and were all questioned by the agents if they were forced to do fundraising against their will and if there were documents taken from them.
Diana Lozano, a 78-year-old US citizen, said she denied to agents that they were held against their will and forced to do fundraising. She added that she keeps her own travel documents like many other missionaries of the church.
Jennifer Calloa said they were traumatized by the early morning raid. She also said the federal agents made them “feel like we were the worst criminals.
She further said that senior citizens and very sick people were left to stand outside in the cold morning air without jackets.
“I told the FBI that there was no need to let us go through this, letting us feel like we were the worst criminals. I told the agents that we could have let them in the gate, accommodated them willingly and answered all their questions if we had known they wanted to come in,” Callao said.
“They told me they were informed that we had heavily armed guards here. We told them they were misinformed about us here. They were very apologetic and said they were just doing their job,” she added.
KJC’s congregation in Waipahu, Hawaii, was also raided by more than 50 FBI agents.
Chelcey Guerrero said two agents held her and her one-year-old baby Moanna at gunpoint. The agents also pointed their guns at her father, Rolando Guerrero, who was deaf and could not hear the agents’ instructions.
KJC said federal agents also visited their compounds in San Francisco, Delano, Virginia, Houston, Missouri, and New York while the raid in Los Angeles was taking place.
Ruby Ragel, 70, said FBI agents visited her home in San Bernardino.
FBI was reportedly acting on an affidavit filed before the United States District Court against KJC for conspiracy to commit immigration fraud last January 27.
KJC founder, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, denied the allegations, insisting that “under no circumstances does the Kingdom of Jesus Christ or its members engage in any act that violates the law.”
He added the filing of a criminal complaint was part of a “grand conspiracy of lies concocted by men and women who were once part of KJC but struck alliances with forces jealous of the meteoric rise of Pastor ACQ and the KJC.”
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