Just days after word began to circulate of a citizen militia group providing unsolicited assistance to U.S. Border Patrol agents at the border in New Mexico, media reports emerged that the FBI had arrested the group’s leader.
As more information has become available about that arrest, it appears that the militia group was in fact training not for the purpose of detaining illegal immigrants, but to instead mount assassination attempts against a number of prominent figures on the ideological left, including billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros.
Militia leader arrested on weapons charges
Larry Mitchell Hopkins, the so-called “commander” of the New Mexico-based militia group known as United Constitutional Patriots, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of being a felon in unlawful possession of firearms.
His arrest came just days after reports had emerged of his group detaining groups of illicit border crossers at gunpoint until Border Patrol agents could arrive to officially place them in custody.
According to the criminal complaint filed against him, federal law enforcement officials had their eyes on Hopkins and his group since at least November of 2017, when FBI agents paid Hopkins and his common-law wife, Fay Sanders Murphy, a visit at their Flora Vista, New Mexico home.
Assassination plot, weapons discovered in 2017
The complaint explained how the FBI had received tips about “alleged militia extremist activity” based out of Hopkins’ home, and documented how more than a dozen firearms and associated stocks of ammunition were discovered in a consensual search at that time of the residence shared by Hopkins and Murphy, who was alleged to be the owner of all of the firearms.
Subsequent to that search, it was discovered that Hopkins was convicted in 1996 in Michigan on felony weapons charges. He was arrested and convicted once again in 2006 in Oregon on similar charges, as well as for impersonating an officer of the law.
The complaint further alleged that Hopkins explained to the agents that his group had been “training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton
The complaint did not provide any further details with regard to that alleged plot, nor is it clear why it took until now to arrest Hopkins on charges that stemmed from a search conducted in November 2017, nearly a year and a half ago.
Questionable timing on arrest and charges
That delay was the subject of several key issues raised by Hopkins’ attorney, Kelly O’Connell, who, with regard to the alleged assassination plots, explained to NBC News, “(Hopkins) says that is categorically false that that’s what they were doing. There was no plan to do any of that.”
O’Connell said of the weapons charges, “If it was that outrageous of a crime, why not lock him up right then?” The attorney further wondered why “this charge suddenly comes up” in the wake of Hopkins’ group gaining public attention with its activity at the border.
To be sure, this criminal complaint and the allegations therein do not constitute a conviction, and Hopkins must be presumed innocent until a court determines otherwise. That said, fomenting assassination plots against prominent liberal figures — regardless of the despicable things they may do to undermine the country — is not acceptable in our current society, and if true, this guy deserves whatever punishment he may receive.