United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) founder Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, was arrested by the FBI on Saturday and was charged with the possession of firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon.
According to the ACLU, Hopkins and his fellow vigilante extremists have been kidnapping asylum seekers entering the country through the Southern border. It’s kidnapping because Hopkins and his group don’t have the legal authority to detain anyone. Yet video has surfaced online along with pictures that show the UCP detaining asylum seekers at gunpoint.
Per The Guardian, the ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes” and said they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum,” making illegal arrests and holding migrants at gunpoint.
Other video footage has been released showing 2 UCP extremists holding semi-automatic rifles near immigrant children.
Hopkins is a known fraud who self-deputizes and pretends to have an authority that he does not. The Guardian also reports that in 2006, Hopkins was found at a gas station showing guns to children claiming he was a police officer. He even carried a fake badge with fake medals pinned onto his shirt. He told the children that he was a “special agent.” Well, he definitely got the ‘special’ part right.
U.S. Border Patrol Is Complicit
It’s impossible to imagine various far-right militia groups are operating outside of the bounds of the law along the border – and U.S. Border Patrol doesn’t know about it.
Not only do we know that they know about it, but it’s also clear that they are complicit in allowing these fascist groups to continue kidnapping migrants.
A spokesperson for the UCP calling himself Jim claimed the group works with Border Patrol! This is something the Border Patrol denies, however. Jim told The Daily Beast, “there’s no question about whether or not we work with Border Patrol…that’s well-documented and not just once. It’s documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post.”
This is insane and directly implicates U.S. Border Patrol in allowing this illegal activity to occur. Where is the accountability? It doesn’t appear to exist at all. Extreme groups like the UCP are being given the green-light to self-deputize and take matters into their own hands. This shows how linked together law enforcement is with white vigilante groups.
For more information about this treachery, I highly-advise everyone read an investigative report written for Mother Jones late 2016. It details the resurgence of far-right paramilitary groups like UCP and how closely-tied they are with Border Patrol. The reporter (who was undercover) even details an incident where an intelligence officer with Border Patrol gave the group he was embedded with intel about which routes to take and had supposedly given them intel a lot prior.
We cannot separate the lawlessness of groups like UCP from the conduct of Border Patrol who, for all intents and purposes, see groups like UCP as allies helping them out.
While it’s a good thing Hopkins has been arrested, this is a much bigger problem than most are even aware of.