Most entries on these pages only contain arrests, charges, or indictments, which may eventually be reduced, dropped, or expunged, and as such, these actors may in fact be innocent in a court of law. These are just a few of the drug incidents we have identified. There are many more to be uploaded, so please check back.
Drugs are a major problem at U.S. churches. According to the National Incident-based Reporting System [NIBRS] (revamp of the Uniform Crime Reports) in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available) 1,103 instances of drug possession, use, or distribution occurred at churches. Because NIBRS is only in use so far in 20% of the U.S., we must approximate actual counts. This provides us with the final estimate that 5,515 incidents were reported to have occurred. It is likely that many instances were never reported.
Click on the link to read the report.
(Photo courtesy Mobile County Sheriff’s Office)
- St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Springfield Township, OH. Anthony Williams (church carnival ride operator) arrested for alleged possession of cocaine while operating carnival rides. Police: Church carnival ride operator arrested for using drugs.
- Long Lake Church, Traverse City, MI. Christopher Ryan Cox (pastor) pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct. He allegedly plied his victims with methamphetamine to gain compliance. Double Life: Christopher Cox was a pastor, a successful businessman, a Rotarian, a father and husband. He was also a meth-addicted sexual predator who preyed on young men.
- Lion of Judah House of Rastafari Church, Madison, WI. Jesse Schworck, Dylan Bangert (church founders) arrested for possessing and using drugs without a prescription. Rastafarian church founders arrested again for drug possession, disorderly conduct.
- Boltin Avenue church, Orangeburg County. Man found sleeping in truck in church parking lot had drugs and paraphernalia on his person. Man slept in church parking lot with meth.
- Buxton United Methodist Church, Buxton, ME. Matthew Anderson (church leader’s nephew) arrested. A methamphetamine lab was discovered onsite inside a children’s playroom. The suspect is the nephew of the leader of the church Board of Trustees. Buxton church to be tested for meth lab toxins.
- First Christian Church, Eugene, OR. Sharon Eigner (volunteer) was arrested for allegedly trying to sell heroin at her church. Individual drug packets had customer names on them. Other drugs were also confiscated. Woman arranges drug deal at Eugene church in sting, police say.
- St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and St. Mary’s Catholic School, Boise, ID. William Thomas Faucher (pastor) arrested for ten counts of “sexual exploitation of a child” and one “possession of a controlled substance. Retired St. Mary’s Catholic Church pastor arrested on child sexual exploitation charges.
- Church of the Cross (Assemblies of God), Haughton, LA. Andy Harris (pastor) arrested for methamphetamine. He preached under one of the tallest crosses in the U.S. — until his arrest for meth.
- Unidentified Church, Savannah, GA. Ebony Cooper & Leah Pressley arrested. Two Women Arrested For Selling Weed Brownies At Church Event For Local Entrepreneurs.
- St. Cornelius Catholic Church, Chadds Ford, PA. Gregory J. Parlante (priest) arrested. Former Chadds Ford pastor arrested on drug, theft charges.
- WellHouse Ministry, Birmingham, AL. Tajuan McCarty (minister) arrested. Sex trafficking ministry founder busted in drug raid at her Tarrant home.
- New Beginnings International Outreach Ministry, Savannah, GA. Cedric Manior (minister) arrested. Local minister sentenced to 10 years for federal drug trafficking, firearms offenses.
- Victory Christian Center, Vigo County, IN. Heather Riggs (pastor’s wife and a former church employee) arrested. Woman Accused of Stealing Thousand From Church And Dealing Drugs.
- East Hills Community Church, Riverside, CA. Benjamin Baldassarre and Ashley Carroll arrested. California Parents Used Drone to Deliver Drugs to Church Parking Lot.
- St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Worchester, MA. Christopher Slavinskas arrested after hiding drug money inside church. Brother Of Worcester Catholic Priest Hid Kevin Perry’s Drug Money In His Church.
- Holy Childhood Parish, Mascoutah, LA. Gerald Hechenberger (associate pastor) arrested. Mascoutah priest placed on leave amid meth and child porn charges.
- Unidentified Marshfield church, Marshfield, WI. Benjamin Hardy, distributing opioids at local church. Marshfield addiction recovery leader accused of delivering drugs at a church.
- Church of the Cross, Haughton, LA. Andy C. Harris (senior pastor) arrested for possessing meth and drug paraphernalia. Louisiana pastor arrested for meth possession.
- Unidentified church, Shermansdale, PA. Harry Maxwell (youth pastor) arrested for selling OxyCodone. He “counsels young people on the dangers of illicit drugs.” (ABC News). Youth Pastor arrested for unlawful drug delivery.
- Vancouver’s Living Hope Church, Canada. John Bishop (former lead pastor) arrested in San Ysidro, CA for smuggling attempt. Morning Press: Former pastor arrested, Golden Corral update, surgeon suspended.
- Revelation Christian Center, Memphis, TN. Andre Guy-Reed (pastor) is a convicted drug felon. 1) Pastor files complaint after MPD officer’s search church for suspect. 2) From North Memphis with Andre Guy-Reed, part two.
- Bethlehem Church, Salem, MA. Jacob Lee Skaggs arrested in church parking lot for possession and paraphernalia. Man found sleeping on hood of truck in a church parking lot arrested for drugs.
- Palmer Church of God, Palmer, TN. William E. “Tim” Smith, Jr. (pastor) arrested for possession of schedule II drugs and prescription drugs. Palmer Pastor arrested for Attempted Child Rape, Drugs.
- Unidentified church, Perry County, PA. Harry E. Maxwell (youth pastor) arrested for selling painkiller. “Maxwell counseled young people on the dangers of illicit drugs.” Midstate youth pastor charged with unlawful drug delivery.
- Faith Fellowship and Crossroads to Recovery, Marshfield, WI. Benjamin Hardy (addiction specialist) charged with supplying narcotics to a client at the church. Church responds after addiction specialist charged with delivering drugs.
- Unidentified church, Lee County, MS. Lee Hersey (pastor) arrested for selling hydrocodone drugs to clients during “counseling sessions.” Pastor jailed for reportedly selling narcotics during ‘counseling sessions’.
- Saint Martha Parish And School, Lansing, MI. Christopher Brooks Wehrle (priest’s son) arrested on drug charges after $60,000 in cash found in priest’s home hidden above ceiling tiles in the basement. Tip led police to hidden money in priest’s house.
- Temple of Healing and Meditation, Roseville, CA. Zamrai Popal, and Karemullah Popal arrested. Roseville PD shuts down marijuana church. 2017
- Red Hill Baptist Church, Madison County, SC. Windell Banks, Kasey Worley, and Shea Hoffman arrested for selling drugs at a church. Deputies: Three accused of selling drugs to teens at a church Madison Co.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, San Benito, CA. Tara Postigo arrested for drug sales. Woman arrested for drug sales in church parking lot near high school.
- Watershed, Fairbanks, AK. David Lensegrav arrested for weapons, drugs, & outstanding warrants. Man Found Sleeping In Church Parking Lot Arrested For Drugs, Weapons Misconduct.
- First Christian Church, Columbus, OH. Justin White (former pastor) arrested. Former pastor pleads guilty: Columbus man apologizes for actions. 2014
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Cottonwood Heights, UT. Aaron Shamo (former deacon) drug kingpin. From Mormon kid to alleged drug kingpin: Inside the rise and fall of Aaron Shamo.
- St. Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church, Memphis, TN. Jeremy Darby (church custodian) arrested. Loaded gun, drugs found at Memphis day care.
- St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sonora, CA. David Brown & Benjamin Tarango arrested. Church Goer Assist In Sonora Drug Bust.
- Unidentified Mission Church, Wichita, OK. David Ticker and Cynthia Belcher arrested. Drug smugglers claim they were recruited by cartel at Kansas church.
- Denman Avenue Baptist Church, Lufkin, TX. Eric Thomas Garland (pastor) arrested. Pastor charged with fraudulent drug possession.
- Power of Faith Church, Jacksonville, FL. Elliot Lawson (pastor) arrested. Black church news: Pastor arrested for selling Coke (smh).
- Mission Church, Boston, MA. Willie Wilkerson (pastor), arrested for drugs found at the church. Pastor facing drug and possession of stolen property charges.
- Care and Share Ministries, Plymouth, IN. James Irwin (pastor) arrested for “dealing” a controlled substance in exchange for sexual services. Former Plymouth pastor sentenced on drug and prostitution charges.
- Full Gospel Tabernacle, Dallas, TX. Darick Favors (bishop/pastor), famous for his “laying on of hands” was found dead in a hotel room where drugs were recovered. Texas pastor found dead in hotel room with drugs.
- St James of Jerusalem, Long Beach, NY. Christopher King (former priest-in-charge) arrested for prescription drugs and methamphetamine. Long Island priest arrested on drug and pornography charges.
- St. Agnes Catholic Church, Freeland, MI. Robert DeLand, Jr. (priest) arrested for furnishing Ecstasy to minors, and manufacturing and distributing. 1) 71-year-old Catholic priest from Saginaw arrested for alleged sex crimes, drug purchase. 2) High ranking US-priest arrest for gay assault (drugs involved).
- True Love Church of Refuge, Charlotte, NC. John Thomas Lindsey (pastor) was arrested for nine alleged robberies which were motivated by drugs. North Carolina pastor arrested, charged with 9 counts of robbery in string of heists suspected to be drug-motivated.
- Living Hope Church, Vancouver, WA. John Lee Bishop (pastor) charged in federal court with importing marijuana from an alleged Mexican drug cartel and the later convicted. The border officer found the drugs inside a wheel well of the car he was driving. ‘I fell off the way.’ A charismatic pastor-turned-marijuana smuggler heads to prison.
- Kincaid Church, Rogersville, TN. Joseph Kembert Jones, arrested in church parking lot w/drugs & stolen firearm. Man arrested in church parking lot on drug trafficking, gun charges.
- St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church, Granite Bay, CA. Juvenile male detained. Teen drug dealer bust at Granite Bay church.
- Restore Church, Iona, MI. Tom Cole (recovering drug addict and founder of church) arrested. Meth bust next to church near downtown Ionia.
- Pisgah Baptist Church, Palestine, TX. Kevin Rogers Bishop arrested for possession of drugs. Man arrested with drugs in church parking lot.
- Trinity United Church of Christ, Bethlehem, PA. James Peter Kranyecz, (custodian) arrested. Bethlehem church custodian sold drugs he kept there, police say.
- Corpus Christi Catholic Community, El Paso, TX. Luis Ulises Carrasco (deacon) arrested. El Paso church deacon arrested in drug case.
- Faith Christian Family Church, Panama City Beach, FL. Markus Bishop (pastor) arrested for marijuana possession and a syringe. PCB Pastor arrested again in Pensacola.
- Cannabis Church, Rhode Island. Anne Armstrong (deacon) and Alan Gordon (deacon) were arrested and charged with marijuana distribution. Cannabis church leaders arrested on drug charges.
- St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church, Eugene, OR. Daniel James Mackay (priest) arrested for “possessing cocaine” and other charges. Priest accused of patronizing prostitute under 18, possessing cocaine.
- Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, Wyandanch, NY. Robert Lubrano (priest) arrested for purchase and possession of crack cocaine. New York priest arrested on drug charges at Long Island motel.
- St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT. Kenneth DuBose (pastor) arrested for crack cocaine possession. It was allegedly found in the front of one of his bibles. Police also allege they saw him purchasing drugs, but the pastor maintained he was only “counseling the drug dealer.” Pastor Arrested for Allegedly Purchasing Crack Cocaine, Says ‘the Devil Is a Liar.’
- St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Norwalk, VA. Kenneth DuBose (pastor) arrested and charged “with possession of narcotics” for the crack cocaine found in his gym bag. Following the arrest, his Facebook post read: “The devil is a liar…” Norwalk pastor charged with buying crack cocaine.
- Second Baptist Church, Beckley, WV. Rudolph Poindexter (pastor) who was virulently anti-drug was arrested for narcotics following an FBI raid, according to press reports. Raleigh County Pastor Arrested in Drug Bust.
- First United Methodist Church, Pace, FL. David Donald Hoppenjan (former senior pastor) arrested for traveling “to have sex with a 14-year-old boy.” Fla. child sex sting nets 22 suspects, including Methodist pastor who volunteered in schools.
- Grace Baptist Church, TN. Jason Kennedy (child’s ministry pastor) arrested in prostitution sting for seeking sex with under-aged girls. ‘His tsunami has come across our whole church’: Child sex sting nets two Tenn. Pastors.
- Lifehouse Church, Oak Ridge, TN. Zubin Parakh (creative pastor) arrested and charged for “patronizing prostitution and trafficking. ‘His tsunami has come across our whole church’: Child sex sting nets two Tenn. Pastors.
- Grace Walk Community Church, Tolleson, AZ. Robert Anthony Jerez (youth pastor) arrested for “doing drugs with a teen parishioner.” Sex was also involved. Tolleson youth pastor accused of sex, drugs with underage parishioner.
- Boston, MA. Shaun Harrison (street preacher) arrested for selling drugs, and for “shooting a high school student execution style,” with security video as evidence. He is alleged to have hidden a gang tattoo underneath his clothing and was in possession of “guns, ammunition and large bags of marijuana” which was discovered upon exercise of search of his home. Popular Street Pastor Speaks out from Behind Bars.
- St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church, Eugene, OR. Daniel James MacKay (priest) arrested for “unlawful possession of cocaine, and using a minor in a controlled substance offense.” Priest suspected of sex with girl.
- Redeemed Outreach Center, Phoenix, AZ. Jack Moriarty (pastor) a former convict was murdered in a home invasion after he had started to use drugs again. She fell in love with Pastor Jack for his generous heart, not knowing it would get him killed.
- City Church of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA. Owen and Tammy McManus (pastors) are likely to be arrested charged with filing false public records seeking Louisiana film tax credits. Charges are based on information from a prison informant and a month’s long investigation including subpoenas issued. Police report: City Church leaders likely to be arrested.
- Christ United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN. Gary Lee Thompson arrested attempting to shoot heroin in church parking lot. Mailman arrested in church parking lot while attempting to inject himself with heroin.
- God’s Family Church, Philadelphia, PA. David Brazzle (pastor) arrested when police discovered 10 pounds of marijuana inside his residence. Philadelphia Pastor Arrested in Leake County Drug Bust.
- Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, NY. Diane Reiners (priest) arrested for drunk driving and narcotics possession. Police say she had an open bottle of vodka in her car when arrested. Cathedral priest arrested on DUI – drugs charges.
- Unidentified church, Washington, DC. Lewis Thomas (deacon) arrested for powered cocaine, he maintained was “lime.” He was charged with possession and trafficking, but those charges were eventually dropped when a confirmatory test failed. Other charges remained. Spartanburg County man claims drug identification error cost his job.
- Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL. Juan Demetrius McFarland Jr. (former pastor) admitted to drug use from the pulpit. He also admitted to adultery with several female parishioners without telling them he had AIDS. Montgomery pastor admits to having AIDS, sleeping with church members.
- University of Fairbanks parish, Diocese of Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK. Sean P. Thomson (priest) arrested for possession of marijuana, and weapons violations. Fairbanks campus priest charged with DUI, drugs and weapons.
- Holiness Tabernacle Church, Olive Hill, KY. Scott Gilliam (pastor)arrested. Pastor Arrested for Selling Drugs out of His Church.
- Irvington Bible Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO. Robert Jaynes Jr. (pastor) arrested. 10 tons of drugs, 11 1/2 years in prison for Indy pastor. 2013
- Boss Angels Inc., Toledo, OH. Charles “Slim” Lake (street preacher) was arrested for possession of drugs and drug trafficking. Street preacher jailed on weapons violations.
- Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Dayton, OH. Chad White Sr. (pastor) arrested for DUI and possession of drugs. Former deacon says it’s time for pastor to step down after second arrest.
- Cathedral of St. Augustine, Bridgeport, CT. Kevin Wallin (priest) arrested for “dealing crystal methamphetamine” to which he pled guilty. He earned the moniker of “Monsignor Meth.” A Dazzling Priest’s Lurid Fall, to Drug Case Suspect.
- Church of Universal Love and Music, Bullskin, Fayette County, GA. Twenty-three people arrested at the church’s nondenominational property, “and the seizure of…marijuana, hash brownies, hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD, laughing gas and drug paraphernalia.” 23 arrested in drug raid at Church of Universal Love and Music.
- St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Augusta, ME. Stephen Foote (priest) arrested for trying to smuggle drugs into a jail. Episcopal priest arrested in drug investigation.
- Affiliation unkown, Akron, Ohio. Richard Beasley (chaplain) arrested for “drug trafficking, aggravated menacing, tampering with evidence and possession of criminal tools.” Pastor and teenage boy arrested in connection with three murder.
- Forever Flowing Ministries, Mobile, AL. James A. Hunter, and wife Sylvia Hunter arrested for possession, distribution, and receiving controlled substances. They had on hand nearly 100 prescription bottles and a number of firearms. Undercover drug operation lands Mobile minister and his wife in jail.
- Unidentified church, Houston, TX. Jesse Frank Perry (church organist) arrested for (while working as a Baptist University police officer) confiscating drugs during car stops and keeping it. He was charged with “possession with intent to deliver.” HBU officer arrested for drug possession during sting operation.
- St. William Church, Tewksbury, MA. William “Bill” Emerson (Deacon) arrested for smuggling drugs into local jails where he worked as a chaplain, delivering them to inmates. He was caught during a blackmail scheme by one of the inmates. Tewksbury deacon admits to drug allegations.
- Burning Bush Missionary Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC. Robert Lee McQueen (former preacher) arrested. Preacher, bail bondsman gets prison time for drug trafficking.
- ConnectPoint Church, Spokane, WA. Greg S. Glover (pastor) arrested. Pastor arrested in undercover drug, theft probe.
- St. John Vianny Roman Catholic Parish, Diocese of Scranton: Scott Township, PA. James Shimsky. Scranton-area Catholic priest arrested for alleged cocaine buy in Philadelphia.
- Life Center Cathedral Church, North Charleston, NC. Brian Moore (pastor) arrested for drug possession. North Charleston pastor arrested on drug charges in North Carolina.
- Our Lady of Tepeyac Church, Riverside County, CA. Anthony Martinez Garduno (minister) arrested for allegedly selling narcotics (methamphetamine) from the church. Minister arrested on drug charges.
- Walworth United Methodist Church, Palmyra, NY. Richard Crooks (church organist) arrested for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana, crack cocaine). He lived in the church parsonage along with sever others who were either arrested or ticketed. Porn was also found on his computer and was being assessed for age. Drug bust nets Pal-Mac substitute teacher.
- Blessed Sacrament. South Charleston, WV. James Edward O’Connor (pastor) arrested. Local Priest Arrested on Felony Drug Charge, Suspended from Church.
- Unidentified church, Trenton, NJ. James Winston Cheston (deacon) arrested for drug possession and trafficking. Trenton Man Arrested And Charged With Drug Possession.
- Christian Church, Earl Simmons, aka “Rapper DMX” (transitional deacon) arrested and pled guilty of possession of narcotics. DMX Talks About Becoming a Pastor and How He Feels about Eminem Being ‘Rap God’.
- Newman Center, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL. Christopher Layden (priest) arrested pled guilty of “using and selling cocaine.” Priest gets 4 years of probation for dealing drugs.
- Church of the Highlands, Grants Mill, AL. Mayo Sowell (pastor) arrested (in 2008) for intent to distribute drugs (cocaine) and went to prison, years before becoming a pastor. A life turned around: Former AU linebacker shares story of redemption.
- Cinncinnati Archdiocese, Cinncinnati, OH. Thomas Gaeke (priest) arrested for drug possession and paraphernalia. Priest Arrested On Drug Charges.
- St. John Vianney Parish, Milwaukee, WI. Leonard Van Vlaenderen (priest) arrested for possession of cocaine. Priest Cocaine.
- New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Ted Haggard (pastor) although, never being arrested, admitted publicly that he had purchased and used crystal meth. 1) Ted Haggard (Wikipedia). 2) Haggard admits buying meth.
- Faith Reform Church, Traverse City, MI. Christopher Ryan Cox (director of worship) convicted of “felony delivery of methamphetamine.” Double Life: Christopher Cox was a pastor, a successful businessman, a Rotarian, a father and husband. He was also a meth-addicted sexual predator who preyed on young men.
- First Baptist Church, Palm Coast, FL. Jeff Dawsey (youth pastor) admits though his evangelistic testimony that he did drugs, sold drugs, and had “murderous intent” involving a murder for hire plan he contemplated for three weeks, though he never followed through with it. 1) From drug dealer to pastor: the transformation of Jeff Dawsey. 2) “If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they got raped at church, it would be illegal to take your kid to Denny’s.” [Dan Savage].
- Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church (ONAC), WA. James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney (medicine man) arrested and charged for possession and distribution of peyote. Mooneys arrested for distribution, possession of peyote.
- Cases to be added. Please check back.
- Cases to be added. Please check back.
- St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sheffield, IL. Jeffrey Windy (priest) arrested for allowing GHB (the date-rape drug) to be made in the church rectory. He pled guilty to “conspiracy to manufacture and distribute the drug.” Priest sentenced to prison in drug conspiracy.
- Unidentified church, Milton, FL. Thomas Anthony Crandall (priest) arrested for drug dealing out of his rectory. He pled guilty to “conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and Ecstacy.” Former Catholic Priest Arrested on Florida Child Porn Charges.
- Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church (ONAC), WA. James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney (medicine man) arrested and “charged with a dozen counts of drug trafficking and one count of racketeering.” He is not enrolled in any tribe and primarily administers the hallucinogen to white people. ‘Peyote Pariah’ Faces Legal, Religion Woes.
- Christ Covenant Church (currently), Seymour, IN. Rick Prather (pastor) was convicted for possession and dealing in illegal drugs. His usage has included marijuana, crack cocaine, powered cocaine, PCP, and acid. He has completed his time in prison and started a church. Faith leads couple out of addiction.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, St. John Neumann Seminary Residence, New York, NY. James E. White (priest) arrested on drug possession. Priest’s Arrest on Drug Charge Is Seen as Blow to Archdiocese.
- St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. Chester LaRue (pastor) was arrested inside the church rectory on charges he had been selling drugs, including cocaine. He eventually pled guilty. Parishioners Come to Services, Despite Arrest of Their Pastor.
- St. Elizabeth’s Roman Catholic Church, Linden, NY. Patrick M. Hurley (associate pastor) was arrested on charges of purchasing cocaine from a drug ring. Fall of a Beloved Priest; Linden Pastor Arrested on Drug Charge.
- St. Barbara Church, Santa Ana, CA. Michael Gary Kinzer (priest) arrested for possession of drugs with intent to sell. Catholic Priest Says Drug-Related Arrest Was ‘Gift From God’.
- Church of God in Christ, Pocaima, CA. Andraé Crouch (gospel artist & pastor) arrested for “possession of cocaine.” Charges were later dropped. Andraé Crouch and the power of the Cross.
- Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA. Danny Duchene (pastor of prison ministry) pled guilty to two counts of murder and spent 25 years in prison, after which he became a pastor. Ex-con turns life around to become pastor.
- Harvest Christian Church, Baskersfield, CA. Pat Harrelson (senior pastor) was arrested on charges of felony drug possession. He was convicted and jailed, paroled and arrested on a second drug charge. Eventually he went to work for Teen Challenge. He was pardoned by the California governor. Bakersfield pastor among the few pardoned by Schwarzenegger.