WESLACO, Texas — The alleged leader of a militia operating at the New Mexico border near El Paso, Texas, was arrested by the FBI Saturday.
Larry Mitchell Hopkins, also known by his alias “Johnny Horton Jr.” is facing charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Two FBI agents paid a visit to Hopkins’ home in late 2017 where he was found in possession of nine firearms, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court.
The complaint lists three other similar felony convictions since 1996, including impersonating a peace officer in 2006.
The 69-year-old is the alleged leader of the armed citizen volunteer group United Constitutional Patriots operating out of Sunland Park, New Mexico bordering El Paso, Texas and Chihuahua state, Mexico.
The group says they set up camp near the border fence more than two months ago in order to report the illegal crossing of migrants and smugglers to U.S. Border Patrol.
The American Civil Liberties Union urged the New Mexico governor to investigate the UPC after videos streamed live on Facebook by the group showed members – armed with guns – ordering migrants who were crossing the border to stop and sit down.
“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” said the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. “The rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”
The criminal complaint also alleges the group was training to assassinate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and George Soros.
The KENS 5 Border Team asked the FBI why they decided to bring the charges against Hopkins nearly two years after having discovered the weapons. The FBI said they cannot comment on ongoing investigations.
Money transfer and crowdfunding sites PayPal and GoFundMe have suspended the group’s accounts.
Jim Bevies, a spokesman for the group, said on a recent Facebook video the group has not broken any laws and believes Hopkins will be exonerated.
Hopkins will remain in custody without bond pending his next hearing April 29.