The 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.
“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.
Dressed in camouflage and carrying rifles, UCP members have helped U.S. Border Patrol detain over 5,600 migrants in the last two months, Benvie said. Videos posted online by the group show members telling migrants to stop, sit down, and wait for agents to arrive. Critics accuse the UCP of impersonating law enforcement.