The border militia leader who was arrested in New Mexico over the weekend on weapons charges allegedly said that his far-right group was training to kill prominent Democratic figures because of their “support of Antifa.”
According to an arrest warrant for Larry Mitchell Hopkins, witnesses told authorities that he’d said the United Constitutional Patriots were training to “assassinate” liberal billionaire George Soros, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama.
The 69-year-old and his armed militia, which spreads conspiracies and searches for asylum seekers on the border, have been accused of illegally detaining migrants. Hopkins was arrested Saturday on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports he could face three years probation and a $250,000 fine.
Witnesses also told authorities in Oct. 2017 that the group “had its ‘base’ at Hopkins’s residence, was supported by approximately 20 members, and was armed with AK-47 rifles and other firearms,” the arrest warrant states.
During a search of his property, the FBI found 10 guns in Hopkins’ “office,” which he claimed were owned by Fay Sanders Murphy, his “common law wife.” Hopkins told authorities there were two more guns in his bedroom—a shotgun and a handgun—and another handgun in his kitchen. All told, the FBI seized nine guns from Hopkins’ home as evidence, including shotguns and long rifles.
Saturday’s arrest marks the third time the militia leader has been arrested on weapons charges. In 1996, he was convicted for possessing a loaded firearm in Michigan. In 2006, he was also convicted in Oregon of felony possession of a firearm and criminal impersonation of a peace officer.
UCP and Hopkins claim to do work with Border Patrol, but the federal law-enforcement agency has denied having any ties to the vigilante group. A UCP spokesperson named Jim told The Daily Beast that there was “no question” about their work together, pointing to the group’s publicity videos in which Border Patrol agents can be seen in the background.
“That’s all documented, and not just once. It’s documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post,” he said.
Border Patrol, however, said it does “not endorse private groups or organizations” that take “enforcement matters into their own hands.”
UCP produces a radio show that spreads conspiracy theories, QAnon beliefs, and misinformation about migrants being connected to terrorists. Hopkins has also claimed President Trump has asked him about “Muslim immigration.”
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Hopkins made his initial court appearance Monday morning and has a detention hearing scheduled for April 29.
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