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The FBI has arrested the leader of an armed militia that recorded itself last week "detaining" (kidnapping) a large group of people who had crossed the border into New Mexico -- for patriotism. Larry Mitchell Hopkins, head of the "United Constitutional Patriots" (UCP) gunhumping and pretend border-cop group, was picked up Saturday for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. As of yet, no charges for Hopkins or his group for holding the immigrants, many of them children, against their will while the group called the Border Patrol. As of this morning Donald Trump has not yet issued a pardon to Hopkins or appointed him to a Cabinet position.

Hopkins, who is 69 but not nice, pleaded guilty in 2006 to impersonating a police officer and illegal firearms possession, but he probably had a very patriotic reason for it -- he claimed to be a bounty hunter, after all. Hopkins goes by the name "Johnny Horton Jr." in tribute to the country musician who died in 1960, and says he's a close personal friend of Donald Trump. In fact, Hopkins says Trump is a regular listener of his conspiracy-filled webcasts, and that Trump has personally asked him for intelligence on scary Muslims sneaking into the US -- not from Mexico, but from Canada, since the northern border is where "all of the Muslims are coming in."


UCP is just one of several groups of heavily armed "patriot" groups that have taken it upon themselves to wander around in the southwest desert to protect America from all the ISIS militants, drug smugglers, and Soros-funded child traffickers they're sure are swarming across the border. The Daily Beast spoke to UCP spokesman "Jim," who refused to give his last name (because who wants Soros or Hillary Clinton knowing, right?), who said OF COURSE the Border Patrol is glad for the help:

There's no question about whether or not we work with Border Patrol [...] That's all documented, and not just once. It's documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post.

Last week's video of UCP detaining a large group of migrants, many of them children, showed uniformed Border Patrol officers showing up after the militia called them (about 8 minutes into the video). The incident took place in Sunland Park, New Mexico, a small border town near El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

US Customs and Border Protection is in full Deny All Knowledge Of Your Activities mode, and says civilians should leave law enforcement up to the pros:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands. Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved.

As the Daily Beast piece reminds us, Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer in 2016 observed the Border Patrol coordinating with a different armed militia in Arizona, so that may not be the most credible disavowal ever made. "Jim" certainly didn't seem worried about it:

"That is exactly the statement they give and they have to give," Jim said of the agency's comment.

"I would characterize it as an awesome relationship," he said of UCP's alleged relations with Border Patrol. "We have great support within the Border Patrol. You can watch the videos if you disagree."

We'll just assume that "Jim" wanted you to watch the videos so much so you could see the fundraising pitches that were a constant part of UCP media, at least until both GoFundMe and PayPal announced Friday they would no longer process payments to UCP -- probably because both companies are part of the conspiracy. UCP also removed the video showing the detention of all those migrants, although it's been saved elsewhere (you need to look at it in full screen to see it).

UCP's detention of the border crossers, who said in the video they were mostly from Guatemala, hit the news last week when the American Civil Liberties Union called on New Mexico authorities to investigate the incident as a kidnapping. In its letter, the ACLU said, "We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum."

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted Friday that her office is "actively working with" the state attorney general and state police, adding, "Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum-seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease." State Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a statement Saturday praising the FBI for arresting Hopkins:

This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families [...] Today's arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not vigilantes.

"Jim," however, was very insistent that UCP isn't a vigilante group at all, because "We're within our rights" to force migrants to the ground while carrying assault rifles. It's the American way! "They're breaking the law. They went across the border, they've broken the law."

While Hopkins wasn't talking to the press last week, he was far more willing to talk to the Southern Poverty Law Center last October, asserting that he'd been "prewarned" by "very high level" law enforcement sources -- he couldn't say who, but Top Men, you bet -- that his own group was being targeted by very bad hombres, so of course his bunch has to go armed:

"Armed groups are already here," he said. "They're planning on flanking us … to shoot us."

"If we're fired on," he added, "we will fire back."

When the SPLC pressed Hopkins about his claim that he was getting information from high up in the government — or as he put it elsewhere in the conversation, "from the very top" — he remained vague.

The SPLC notes Hopkins also took to Facebook to stress his own potential for martyrdom at the hands of evil bad forces on the border, because he just loves America so much he has to commit felonies in service to the land he loves:

im 69 years old and i am going to the border when i know the enemy is close to the border, i am going to fight and i may give my life but at least i will be there and stand by my oath, they didnt get me when i was in the army and i will stand for our country, if they get me now at least i will die for our country and what keeping america free is all about, GOD WILL GUIDE AND PROTECT ME,

Looks like THEY got him, at least for now. Then again, he's white, so maybe he'll get a fine, a stern warning not to personally carry a gun while directing his militia in the future, and for all we know, an invitation to have cold McDonalds foodproduct at the White House. And once they figure out a new way to get donations, just imagine how much money they'll collect, now that the Deep State is out to get them!

[Daily Beast / WaPo / Guardian / Daily Beast / SPLC / Guardian]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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