US: FBI arrests alleged member of armed group stopping migrants in New Mexico - PressFrom - US
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USFBI arrests alleged member of armed group stopping migrants in New Mexico

01:35  21 april  2019
01:35  21 april  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

New Mexico militia group detains migrants at the border

New Mexico militia group detains migrants at the border A militia group near the US-Mexico border detained hundreds of people this week, New Mexico's attorney general told CNN. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "My office has been informed that this week, an armed group has detained nearly 300 people near Sunland Park, New Mexico," Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a written statement. "These individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement.

A video posted Monday night by Jim Benvie, a member of the armed group , appeared to show the militia ordering around a large group of migrants The ACLU’s letter said the group was targeting nearly 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico , which is along the Mexico border and adjacent

Union of New Mexico on Thursday called for state authorities to investigate a small group of armed U.S. citizens who they alleged are illegally detaining migrants entering the United States. The UCP says it is responding to a rise in migrant arrests to their highest monthly levels in more than a decade.

FBI arrests alleged member of armed group stopping migrants in New Mexico© Paul Ratje Image: A group of Brazilian migrants board a US Border Patrol van in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on March 20, 2019.

The FBI on Saturday arrested a man allegedly connected with an armed group that has been detaining migrants in New Mexico, the state attorney general's office said.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was arrested for allegedly being a felon in possession of a weapon, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the FBI said.

The arrest comes after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, demanded that members of a militia group, some of whom are armed, stop detaining migrants at the New Mexico-Mexico border.

'No authority': New Mexico governor tells militia to stop arresting migrants at border

'No authority': New Mexico governor tells militia to stop arresting migrants at border "It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone," New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham .

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Thursday called for state authorities to investigate a group of armed US citizens they alleged are illegally The United Constitutional Patriots says it is responding to a rise in migrant arrests to their highest monthly levels in more than a decade.

Members of the group , which calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots, filmed several of their actions in recent days, including the detention this week of a group The A.C.L.U. said the militia had no legal authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States.

Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins is "a member of the armed group of individuals reportedly detaining migrants near Sunland Park, New Mexico."

"This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families," Balderas said in the statement. "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."

The FBI Albuquerque division said that Hopkins, who is also known as Johnny Horton Jr., was arrested with the assistance of the Sunland Park Police Department.

The FBI said he was arrested on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. It was not immediately clear what the underlying conviction was.

FBI Arrests New Mexico Border Militia Leader Larry Mitchell Hopkins

FBI Arrests New Mexico Border Militia Leader Larry Mitchell Hopkins The FBI has arrested a New Mexico man who allegedly illegally detained immigrants crossing the border under the guise of working for the United States Border Patrol. Larry Mitchell Hopkins runs The United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), an armed border militia group that spreads far-right conspiracies and rounds up asylum seekers on the border. The FBI arrested Hopkins Saturday on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. Recent video footage released by UCP shows two members holding what appear to be semi-automatic rifles near immigrants, many of them children.

Armed groups have long policed the U.S.- Mexico border, according to the Reuters news agency. "If a member of the community witnesses or suspects illegal activity, please call 911, or if related to illegal cross-border activity, call the Border Patrol tip line at 1-877-872-7435 or 1-800-BE-ALERT," it added.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Thursday called for state authorities to investigate a small group of armed U.S. citizens who they alleged are illegally U.S. armed groups have long patrolled the U.S. border, their numbers rising during upticks in migrant apprehensions

The FBI said that no other information would be released until after Hopkins has his initial court appearance, which is expected Monday at 10:30 a.m. at U.S. District Court in Las Cruces. The FBI in its statement did not mention anything about an armed group stopping migrants near the border.

Online jail records suggest that Hopkins was arrested by the FBI on a warrant at around midday Saturday.

It was not clear if Hopkins has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. A message left at a number that public records show might belong to Hopkins in Flora Vista was not immediately returned Saturday afternoon.

The governor said this week that "it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone," and that her office and state police would be working with the state attorney general and local police to see what could be done.

Balderas, the attorney general, warned this week that "these individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement."

Leader of armed group at U.S. border boasted of assassination training: FBI

Leader of armed group at U.S. border boasted of assassination training: FBI The leader of an armed group that is stopping undocumented migrants who cross into the United States from Mexico had boasted about training to assassinate former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, an FBI agent said in court papers on Monday. Larry Hopkins, leader of the United Constitutional Patriots group, whose camouflage-wearing armed members claim to have helped U.S. officials detain some 5,600 migrants in New Mexico's desert in the last 60 days was arrested Friday on a weapons charge.

Members of a vigilante group , some armed with semi-automatic weapons, have been arresting and detaining migrants on the New Mexico - Mexico border, and "It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone," New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham .

(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Thursday called for state authorities to investigate a small group of armed U.S. citizens who they alleged are illegally detaining The UCP says it is responding to a rise in migrant arrests to their highest monthly levels in more than a decade.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico raised the alarm about the arrests by the armed group in a letter sent Thursday to Lujan Grisham and Balderas.

The civil liberties group said in the letter that on Tuesday members of the group arrested nearly 300 people near Sunland Park, and the ACLU posted excerpts of the letter on its website with video that appeared to have been made by one of the militia members.

It was not clear if Hopkins was a member of the armed group calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots. The FBI did not mention anything about an armed group, and the state attorney general's office did not specify a group.

The Reuters news agency reported Thursday that the United Constitutional Patriots, made up mainly of veterans, has been patrolling in the area near Sunland Park since late February.

They've been posting videos almost daily of members in camouflage and armed with semi-automatic rifles holding asylum-seekers who have crossed the border until Border Patrol arrives to arrest them, Reuters reported.

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that it "does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands."

"Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved," CBP said. "Border Security operations are complex and require highly trained professionals with adequate resources to protect the country."

Customs and Border Protection said that it welcomes assistance from the community, but encourages anyone witnessing or suspecting illegal activity to call 911 or the agency.

Leader of armed militia in New Mexico allegedly beaten in jail.
"I talked to him afterwards yesterday and he was beaten, bruised, injured, dazed — and thoroughly demoralized," the man's attorney wrote.

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