Tag Archives: arrests

FBI arrests leader of armed group stopping migrants in New Mexico

FBI arrests leader of armed group stopping migrants in New MexicoThe arrest came two days after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused the group of illegally detaining migrants and New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered an investigation. Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton, was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. “We’re not worried about it, he’s going to be cleared,” said Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), blaming his arrest on political pressure from Lujan Grisham.



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FBI arrests member of armed group stopping migrants U.S.-Mexico border

FBI arrests member of armed group stopping migrants U.S.-Mexico borderThe FBI on Saturday said it had arrested Larry Hopkins, a member of an armed group of U.S. citizens who have been stopping migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton, was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.



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FBI arrests leader of armed group stopping migrants in New Mexico

FBI arrests leader of armed group stopping migrants in New MexicoThe FBI on Saturday said it had arrested Larry Hopkins, the leader of an armed group that is stopping undocumented migrants after they cross the U.S.-Mexico border into New Mexico. The arrest came two days after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused the group of illegally detaining migrants and New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered an investigation. Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton, was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.



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FBI arrests member of armed civilian group that detained migrants

FBI arrests member of armed civilian group that detained migrantsThe group declared an "emergency" on their Facebook page, stating that their commander had been arrested and asking for donations.



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FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrants

FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrantsLarry Mitchell Hopkins accused of illegal weapons possession after videos apparently showed men stopping migrants in New MexicoMen including Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots, share cigarettes while patrolling the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico last month. Photograph: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty ImagesA member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border has been arrested, officials said on Saturday.The FBI arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, for alleged unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition , days after his group posted videos that appeared to show armed men stopping migrants at the border in New Mexico, ordering them to sit on the ground and coordinating with US border patrol agents to have them taken into custody.“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 New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, said in a statement.On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an investigation into the pro-Trump, anti-immigrant men who have been patrolling the border and calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP).The ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes”, saying they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and had directly made illegal arrests and held migrants at gunpoint.Hopkins’ role in the group was unclear, and it was also not clear if he was facing any charges directly related to the videos of the men stopping migrants. The New Mexico attorney general’s office described Hopkins as a “dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families” and labeled him an “armed individual detaining migrants at the border”.An FBI statement on the arrest did not mention the militia group or the detention of migrants, but noted that Hopkins has also gone by the name Johnny Horton Jr and that he was due to appear in court on Monday.In one video posted last Monday night by Jim Benvie, a member of the armed group, it appeared the men were ordering around dozens of migrants, including many children, and telling them to sit. Benvie narrated: “There’s no border patrol here. This is us.”The men appeared to call border patrol agents, who later were seen. The ACLU, in a letter to state officials, said the group had targeted nearly 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is along the Mexico border and adjacent to El Paso, Texas.The militia members advocated for Trump’s proposed border wall on the video streams and echoed the president’s anti-migrant rhetoric, warning of an “invasion”.There have also been concerns that the men, who wear military-style clothes, could be misrepresenting themselves as border patrol agents. In another video, Benvie filmed himself stopping a group of four adults and three children and said “border patrol” as he approached, before calling for another member of his group to join him. In an apparent call to border patrol, one man said: “Hello, I’ve got seven over here.”The UCP has previously presented itself as a group of “volunteers” aiding border patrol and supporting Trump. In recent years, there have been numerous reports of an increase in paramilitary groups and xenophobic activists surveilling the border, working with US agents and targeting undocumented people.The UCP has not responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment.On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said border patrol “welcomes assistance from the community” but “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands”.The Daily Beast reported that Hopkins has a history of pushing far-right conspiracies and has a conviction for impersonating an officer and felony firearm possession. He could not be reached on Saturday and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.Stephanie Corte, an immigrant rights campaign strategist with the ACLU in New Mexico, said her group was still trying to make contact with the detained migrants and was uncertain if any had been released.“Our next focus is to try to get their story and making sure they feel safe to tell their story of being held at gunpoint,” she told the Guardian, adding that the ACLU would explore legal options.She said she hoped authorities would work to make sure this does not happen again.“We absolutely believe that this was completely unlawful,” she said. “We’re hoping those involved will be brought to justice.”



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FBI Arrests New Mexico Border Militia Leader Larry Mitchell Hopkins

FBI Arrests New Mexico Border Militia Leader Larry Mitchell HopkinsPAUL RATJE/GettyThe FBI arrested a 69-year-old 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, who runs The United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), an armed border militia group that spreads far-right conspiracies and rounds up asylum seekers on the border, was arrested by FBI in New Mexico 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. The group also peddles conspiracy theories and produces a radio show where members spread information about QAnon, and accuse migrants of associating with ISIS. Hopkins has also claimed that president Trump has personally asked him about ‘Muslim immigration.’UCP and Hopkins claim to work with Border Patrol, which has publicly denied doing so. Border Patrol agents sometimes appear in the periphery of the groups videos, which show camo-clad UCP members interacting with migrants at the southern border.“There’s no question about whether or not we work with Border Patrol,” said Jim, a UCP spokesperson who declined to give his last name. “That’s all documented, and not just once. It’s documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post.”“U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands,” a Border Patrol official told The Daily Beast.Border Patrol is not supposed to interact with border vigilantes, but has been documented doing so. A Mother Jones reporter who embedded with a border militia in 2016 witnessed the group getting information from Border Patrol agents.UCP is only one of several vigilante groups patrolling the southern border with guns.New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a statement on Saturday, praising the FBI over Hopkins' arrest. “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” Balderas wrote 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.”Hopkins, of Flora Vista, N.M., is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Monday. Federal authorities said they would not released additional details about Hopkins’ arrest until after the appearance.The arrest was the latest fallout for the group. On Friday, the UCP Facebook group announced to its members that they no longer accept donations through PayPal, as the service has suspended their account. “TO ALL PATRIOTS, I wish to thank all of you that has donated to the Border Ops mission up till now. We can no longer accept payments thru PAYPAL, they have permanently suspended our account,” the post read. “… And is hold $ 1300.00 in donations for 180 days. I am looking for another outfit that we can go thru.”PayPal and GoFundMe announced Friday that they would no longer allow UCP to raise funds on their platforms.A PayPal spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement that UCP had been banned from their platform following a video that shows the group rounding up nearly 200 migrants.“The account associated with United Constitutional Patriots has been closed due to a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.”Read more at The Daily Beast.



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Uganda kidnapping: Arrests made in Costa Mesa resident Kimberly Sue Endicott's abduction

Uganda kidnapping: Arrests made in Costa Mesa resident Kimberly Sue Endicott's abductionUgandan police say they have arrested some people over the kidnapping last week of a Costa Mesa tourist who has since been freed.



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Saudi Arabia arrests activists supporting women's rights, including 2 US citizens

Saudi Arabia arrests activists supporting women's rights, including 2 US citizensThose arrested are writers and advocates who quietly supported greater social reforms and most had ties to a group of women’s rights activists currently on trial.



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Venezuela arrests Guaido aide for 'terrorism' in defiance of US

Venezuela arrests Guaido aide for 'terrorism' in defiance of USVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime defied the US on Thursday to arrest a top aide of opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognizes as the crisis-hit country’s interim leader. The United States has repeatedly warned Maduro’s government against arresting Guaido or his close aides, saying it would face unspecified repercussions.



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Trump officials cite 'crisis' on border as arrests spike, but doubts surface on numbers

Trump officials cite 'crisis' on border as arrests spike, but doubts surface on numbersAbout three weeks after President Trump first declared a national emergency to unlock funds for his border wall, prompting a slew of lawsuits and a vote in Congress to block it, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new border apprehension data that seemed, on its face, to be exactly what he needed. According to CBP, the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the border rose from 47,986 in January to 66,450 in February. “This is clearly both a border security and humanitarian crisis,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said at a press conference announcing the newest numbers Tuesday.



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