Border militia member arrested in Sunland Park pleads not guilty

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The leader of the United Constitutional Patriots, the New Mexico-based militia group who has been posted along the U.S.-Mexico Border since mid-February, pleaded not guilty to a federal judge on Monday.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory B. Wormuth on Monday morning after he was arrested Saturday by the FBI in Sunland Park.

Hopkins is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

A complaint affidavit said that FBI agents saw the firearms in Hopkins’ possession during a visit to his home in Flora Vista, N.M. in 2017. 

Agents were alerted to his home because witnesses saw members of the United Constitutional Patriots with rifles and other guns. Hopkins had also allegedly told someone that they “were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, because of these individuals’ support of Antifa.” 

According to the criminal complaint, Hopkins had nine firearms and ammunition at his home in San Juan County, N.M., in Nov. 2017.  Hopkins was banned from owning firearms because he was convicted of at least three felonies including “possessing a loaded firearm in the state of Michigan in 1996; being a felon in possession of a firearm in the state of Oregon in 2006; and impersonating a peace officer in the state of Oregon in 2006,” an U.S. Attorney’s Office news release said.

His next hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. on April 29 in Albuquerque. He is facing at least 10 years in prison.

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