Sunday, April 21, 2019

FBI Arrests Member of Militia Group Detaining Migrants


CNN reports that the FBI has arrested a member of an armed militia that had detained hundreds of migrants at the border this week, the New Mexico attorney general's office said yesterday.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins is a member of an armed group that had reportedly detained migrants near Sunland Park, New Mexico, state Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.  He was arrested on felony charges of being in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to a statement from the FBI's Albuquerque field office.
Earlier this week, videos posted online purported to show migrants being held by a militia known as the United Constitutional Patriots before being turned over to US Border Patrol.
The footage prompted a condemnation from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, which sent a letter to the Governor and Attorney General of New Mexico. The letter states in part:
"Two nights ago, on April 16, 2019, an armed fascist militia organization describing itself as the United Constitutional Patriots arrested nearly three hundred people seeking safety in the United States, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico. Other videos appear to show arrests in the past few hours. The vigilante members of the organization, . . . who posted videos and photographs of the unlawful arrests to social media, are not police or law enforcement and they have no authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States. Their actions undermine the legitimate efforts of our state’s law enforcement officials to keep New Mexico families safe and they erode community trust."  (footnotes omitted).

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