Border militia group forced to leave campsite

El Paso News

The United Constitutional Patriots, the New Mexico-based militia group who has been posted along the U.S.-Mexico Border since mid-February, was been asked to leave its campsite near Mt. Cristo Rey Tuesday. 

KTSM was live at the scene as a caravan of cars were escorted out by Sunland Park Police.

Members of the armed vigilante group had been near Mount Cristo Rey since mid-February and had been apprehending undocumented immigrants who illegally crossed the border. The group posted a video which shows about 300 asylum seekers detained.

After the group was escorted out, some said they felt betrayed by their country.

“I feel we do have the right but there again we’re not out to argue with anybody or law enforcement or anything,” group member Armando Gonzales said.

The members peacefully cooperated with police but said they were trying to serve the country and help border patrol.

“We’re here just to show the American people that we support y’all, we support our Border Patrol our law enforcement, our veterans and that’s what it’s all about,” Gonzales said.

Railroad and Sunland Park police told the group they would give them time to pack up and leave. One group member who goes by the name of “Viper” said the police originally told them they had until Friday to leave. 

After “Viper” left the area he was emotional and in tears saying he was doing this for the country but did not want to speak on camera and said we “wouldn’t understand.”

Recently, the ACLU shared concerns that the group is not composed of law enforcement officers and therefore does not have the authority under federal law to arrest migrants.

It’s leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins was arrested over the weekend and is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office. His arrest was not in connection with the group’s activities in Sunland Park. 

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.

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