FBI arrests leader of militia seen detaining migrants on gun charge

FBI arrests leader of militia seen detaining migrants on gun charge
© Getty Images

A man who reportedly leads a right-wing militia group that was seen on a viral video this week detaining migrants in New Mexico while heavily armed has been arrested for illegal possession of a firearm following a previous felony conviction.

The FBI's field office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, released a statement Saturday confirming the arrest of Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, N.M. on a charge of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hopkins' court date is scheduled for Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. District Court in Las Cruces, N.M., according to the FBI's statement.

"Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, N.M., was arrested today on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The FBI arrested Hopkins in Sunland Park, N.M., with the assistance of the Sunland Park Police Department," read the FBI's statement.

No additional information on Hopkins's involvement with the militia group was released Saturday by the FBI, but New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) asserted in a statement that Hopkins was one of dozens of militia group members seen on video this week confronting hundreds of minors close to the U.S.-Mexico border. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups, lists Hopkins as the leader of the United Constitutional Patriots.

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

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamTrump jokes after rallygoer suggests migrants be shot Conserving wildlife migrations is part science, part policy Republicans target voter registration drives with new state laws MORE (D) released a statement Friday, saying that it is "completely unacceptable” that migrant families “might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form when they arrive at our border.”

“It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone,” she added.