Larry Hopkins, the leader of a vigilante group of individuals that take it upon themselves to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border even though they are neither official Border Patrol agents nor members of law enforcement, has been attacked in jail, his lawyer says.
As Reuters reports, Hopkins, who has been detained at the Dona Ana County Detention Center in New Mexico since his arrest April 20, was attacked by fellow inmates at the facility in Las Cruces. Details about the assault remain unclear due to the fact that it took place within a detention facility. But Hopkins’ attorney, Kelly O’Connell, says that Hopkins suffered broken ribs in the Tuesday assault.
County spokesperson Kelly Jameson confirmed that Hopkins was given medical attention for non-life-threatening injuries, but declined to provide specifics. It remains unclear, as of this writing, how many fellow inmates were involved in the assault or whether any criminal charges have been issued in connection with the assault. It’s also unclear when the assault took place; while Reuters reports that it took place on Tuesday, April 23, Albuquerque’s KOB-TV reports that it took place on Monday, April 22.
Since the assault, Hopkins has been transferred out of the Las Cruces detention facility and into the custody of U.S. Marshals. It remains unclear, as of this writing, where Hopkins is now being held.
The FBI arrested Larry Hopkins, who runs The United Constitutional Patriots, an armed militia group that spreads far-right conspiracies and rounds up asylum seekers on the border. He was charged with possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. https://t.co/aSbCnvbta7— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) April 21, 2019
On Saturday, as The Daily Beast reported at the time, Hopkins was arrested after his group, The United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), released videos showing members, including Hopkins, allegedly pointing what appeared to be semi-automatic weapons at migrants, some of them apparently children.
That got the attention of the FBI, considering that Hopkins is a convicted felon and, as such, is legally prohibited from possessing firearms. Hopkins has multiple felony convictions, according to a companion Daily Beast report, including weapons offenses and impersonating a police officer. He was arrested and taken to the detention facility in Las Cruces.
The UCP is one of several armed groups of individuals who patrol the border, much to the dismay of the government agency actually tasked with patrolling the border. In a statement, Customs and Border Patrol confirmed that they would rather not have to contend with untrained, armed civilians carrying out do-it-yourself border enforcement.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.”
A UCP spokesperson, who asked not to be named, insists however that his group “works with” Border Patrol and has documentation to back it up.