The leader of a right-wing militia in the news recently over allegations it forcefully detained asylum-seekers at the southern border in order to hand them over to Border Patrol agents reportedly once said his group was training to assassinate President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros, an FBI agent said in an affidavit filed Saturday in support of the man’s arrest.
Larry Mitchell Hopkins, also known as Johnny Horton Jr., was arrested Saturday on charges of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon and appeared in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Monday. He is currently the only member of the militia group to face any charges.
The affidavit from the FBI agent came from reports to the agency’s public access line in October 2017 of “alleged militia extremist activity” in Flora Vista, New Mexico, according to NBC News. Hopkins “allegedly made the statement” that his group, the United Constitutional Patriots, was training for the assassinations “because of these individuals’ support of Antifa,” but it’s not clear to whom he made the statements. Hopkins’ attorney denied those allegations.
After the October 2017 calls to the tip line, the FBI went to Hopkins’ home and seized nine firearms, which Hopkins said belonged to his wife. At the time, he already had felony convictions for possession of a loaded firearm and felony possession of a weapon, as well as a conviction for impersonating law enforcement. Hopkins’ lawyer suggested to NBC News that his client was only now being arrested from the 2017 search because of the attention being paid to the militia group in the press.
Videos of the militia group stopping families of migrants at the border, sometimes at gunpoint, enraged immigrant and civil rights groups, who have claimed that the detainment amounted to kidnapping. The group has claimed to have captured up to 5,600 migrants and held them for Customs and Border Protection officers. According to CBS News, the owner of the land where the group had been camping kicked the group off his property on Monday.
Hopkins faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.