TAOS, New Mexico (Reuters) – The FBI announced on Saturday that it has arrested a member of an armed militia of US citizens who patrol the border with Mexico to arrest migrants entering the United States illegally.
Larry Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton, was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, after a federal government complaint accusing him of being a criminal with a firearm and ammunition, says an FBI statement.
Hopkins presents himself as the commander of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), a group of volunteers based near Sunland Park since the end of February. Videos published by the militia show migrants, mostly families with their children from Central America, detained by members of the PCU while waiting for border police to arrest them.
A complaint has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the armed group. A video published on April 16 showing nearly 300 migrants going to a UCP camp caught the attention of US media.
New Mexico’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said on Friday that citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone and that the authorities will investigate the activities of the militia.
The Attorney General of New Mexico, Hector Balderas, described Hopkins as “a dangerous criminal who should not be in possession of weapons near children and families”.