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ALBUQUERQUE — The F.B.I. on Saturday arrested the leader of a right-wing militia that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico, as the group faced a torrent of criticism for its tactics.
Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general, said federal agents had arrested the leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who had been operating under the alias Johnny Horton Jr. Mr. Balderas said in a statement that Mr. Hopkins was arrested on charges of firearms possession by a felon.
The article goes on to state the following:
“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” Mr. Balderas said. “Today’s arrest by the F.B.I. indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”
The firearms charge against Mr. Hopkins is relatively minor. But it is likely the start of a deeper investigation into his activities and those of the militia, and opens the way for the authorities to bring more serious charges like kidnapping and impersonating a police officer or an employee of the United States.
Mr. Hopkins’s arrest comes as tensions rise over ultraconservative paramilitary groups operating along the southwestern border.
Please see below release: pic.twitter.com/hFte1F1vNQ
— NM Attorney General (@NewMexicoOAG) April 20, 2019
We are actively working with @NewMexicoOAG as well as local and state police. Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum-seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease. https://t.co/yYXf8G5m2O
— Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) April 19, 2019
The leader of the vigilante “Militia” that was illegally detaining asylum seekers has been arrested.https://t.co/ZStLqP5tZW
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) April 20, 2019
That militia in New Mexico detaining migrant families at gunpoint on the border? The F.B.I. arrested its leader on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms. https://t.co/JYJepPjkQV
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) April 20, 2019
BREAKING: We just sent a letter to the Governor and Attorney General asking them to investigate an armed vigilante group unlawfully detaining hundreds of migrants at the southern border: https://t.co/bvidHGfvsK pic.twitter.com/ISBOrgUM1D
— ACLU of New Mexico (@ACLUNM) April 18, 2019
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