The leader of a New Mexico militia which has been detaining border crossers is expected to appear in an Albuquerque court on Monday to face federal weapons charges, according to Reuters.
Larry Hopkins, leader of the United Constitutional Patriots, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after the FBI claims it found guns during a 2017 visit to his home.
The 69-year-old was arrested by the FBI on April 20, several days after his militia was accused by the ACLU of illegally detaining migrants - prompting New Mexico's Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to call for them to stop.
Hopkins in 2017 allegedly boasted of training volunteers to kill former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and financier George Soros, an FBI agent said in court papers.
The United Constitutional Patriots has helped the U.S. Border Patrol, which has been overwhelmed by record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum, detain some 5,600 migrants in New Mexico in the last 60 days, the group said. -Reuters
Hopkins' defense attorney, Kelly O'Connell, says that the charges are unrelated to the militia's actions at the border, and stem from an October 2017 report that a militia was being run out of Hopkins' home in Flora Vista, New Mexico, according to FBI Special Agent David Gabriel.
The United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), meanwhile, have been patrolling the border with rifles and camouflage uniforms which beat the group's eagle insignia. They have posted dozens of videos on YouTube depicting UCP members detaining migrant families, who are then made to sit and wait at gunpoint until Border Patrol agents arrive.
Upon entering Hopkins' home, agents collected nine firearms ranging from rifles to pistols - which Horton was illegally in possession of due to at least one prior felony conviction, according to the complaint.
A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Hopkins with being a felon in possession of firearms, the same charged he faced in the original complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Friday. The indictment allows prosecutors to avoid a preliminary hearing in the case. -Reuters
The UCP leader faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.