FBI, Local Police Arrest Vigilante Border Militia Member

Jeff Allen, 56, cowowner of a property on the US-Mexico border and a member of Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops Team militia stands with his dog near the border in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2... Jeff Allen, 56, cowowner of a property on the US-Mexico border and a member of Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops Team militia stands with his dog near the border in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2019. - The militia members say they will patrol the US-Mexico border near Mt. Christo Rey, "Until the wall is built." In recent months, thousands of Central Americans have arrived in Mexico in several caravans in the hope of finding a better life in the United States. US President Donald Trump has branded such migrants a threat to national security, demanding billions of dollars from Congress to build a wall on the southern US border. (Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man belonging to an armed group that has detained Central American families near the U.S.-Mexico border was arrested Saturday in a border community on a criminal complaint accusing him of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, authorities said.

The FBI said in a statement it arrested 69-year-old Larry Mitchell Hopkins in Sunland Park with the assistance of local police. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a separate statement that Hopkins was a member of the group that had stopped migrants.

Hopkins was booked into the Dona Ana County detention center in Las Cruces and it wasn’t immediately known whether he has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

The FBI statement did not provide information on Hopkins’ background, and FBI spokesman Frank Fisher told The Associated Press that no additional information would be released until after Hopkins has an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Las Cruces.

The FBI said Hopkins is from Flora Vista, a rural community in northern New Mexico and approximately 353 miles (572 kilometers) north of Sunland Park, which is a suburb of El Paso, Texas.

The Sunland Park Police Department on Saturday referred an AP reporter to the FBI.

Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins “is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families. Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”

Federal authorities on Friday warned private groups to avoid policing the border after a string of videos on social media showed armed civilians detaining large groups of Central American families in New Mexico.

The videos posted earlier in the week show members of United Constitutional Patriots ordering family groups as small as seven and as large as several hundred to sit on the dirt with their children, some toddlers, waiting until Border Patrol agents arrive.

Customs and Border Protection said on its Twitter account that it “does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands. Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved.”

Jim Benvie, a spokesman for United Constitutional Patriots, did not immediately respond Saturday to a request for comment made via Facebook.

Benvie said in a video that the group’s members were assisting a “stressed and overstrained Border Patrol” and said the group is legally armed for self-defense and never points guns at migrants. The posted videos do not show them with firearms drawn.

Armed civilian groups have been a fixture on the border for years, especially when large numbers of migrants come. But, unlike previous times, many of the migrants crossing now are children.

In the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, which has emerged as the second-busiest corridor for illegal crossings after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, 86% of arrests in March were people who came as families or unaccompanied children.

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Notable Replies

  1. …the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”

    I hope they also trod on his damn Gadsden flag.

  2. arrested Saturday in a border community on a criminal complaint accusing him of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition

    Well huh. A certain form of pinhead patriotism really is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Where have we seen this before??? :angry:

  3. From Buzzfeed News-> Chuck Davis, head of intelligence for the militia, posted on Facebook that Hopkins, who he referred to as “the commander,” had been arrested at base camp.

    “They set him up they are trying to use his past from 50 years ago,” Davis said. “The commander needs all patriot to come to his aid.”

    The Flora Vista, New Mexico resident was previously arrested in 2006 in Klamath County, Oregon, facing charges for impersonating a peace officer and two charges of a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records. He ended up pleading no contest to a charge of impersonating a peace officer and guilty to felony possession of a firearm.

    So do these militia members not do math, or did Hopkins commit a felony when he was 16 years old? And why if he committed a felony at 16 y/o he has been allowed to purchase guns for 50 years?

  4. That’s my final answer, Alex.

  5. This is a good thing, but we need to see some arrests for kidnapping, pour encourager les autres.

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