After months of maintaining that they were actually enforcing the law, militia leader Larry Hopkins has been reported as having pled guilty to felony charges associated with the possession of a firearm.
Hopkins heads a vigilante group, the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), which earlier this year made news headlines. The group released footage, shot by its members, showing other members ordering and forcing migrants to the ground by gunpoint. The incident reportedly occurred near the border with El Paso. What was even more disturbing is that many of those in the video, at the end of those gun points, appeared to be children.
Hopkins may have played the role of a member of law enforcement, but he has had his fair share of a criminal history as well. He was arrested this past April on weapons charges to which he chose to plead not guilty. This only served to cause his followers to rally around him, using him as a martyr for their cause.
Then, this past Thursday, he decided to change his plea to not guilty. With his changing his plea, the members of his group began claiming that the plea report was false and entirely fabricated.
Because he now has three felony convictions, Hopkins is not permitted to own a gun. In addition to his most recent arrest on gun possession charges, Hopkins was arrested in 1996 in Michigan on weapons charges, as well as in 2006 in Oregon. The 2006 arrested was a felony charge for firearm possession. He was also arrested at approximately the same time for the impersonation of an officer.
Hopkins group, the UCP, are very notorious for being what some would term “gun-happy.” In videos, that the group has uploaded to Facebook, the members can be seen carrying rifles that appear to be semi-automatic, as they prowl along the border between the US and Mexico.
What is even more disturbing is that, although the US Border Patrol claims that they do not enlist, nor work with, vigilante groups, there were cases of officers from the Border Patrol appearing in some of the videos. Add in the fact that the UCP maintains that they have a close relationship with the US Border Patrol, and you can see why there may be some cause for concern.
With his recent change in his plea, Hopkins has only served to set off a new wave of claims of fake news from his group, which has maintained that Hopkins if innocent of any and all weapons charges.
Do you think that the UCP is working with the Border Patrol?