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Militia man arrested in New Mexico once lived in Ashland

SALEM (AP) — The man who belonged to a group that was holding immigrants at gunpoint and was arrested in New Mexico on a firearms offense had been found guilty of the same crime in Oregon 12 years ago.

But Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, fled in 2007 without serving his sentence, Klamath County, Oregon, court records show.

On Saturday morning in Sunland Park, New Mexico, the FBI arrested Hopkins on felony firearms charges accusing him of possessing nine firearms and ammunition , according to a release issued yesterday by the U.S. Attorney's Office's New Mexico district. The release says Hopkins is also known by the name Johnny Horton Jr.

As a felon, Hopkins was not allowed to have firearms, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Earlier Associated Press reports describe Hopkins as a member of the United Constitutional Patriots, one of several armed militias patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border. National media reports from CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post say Hopkins was United Constitutional Patriots' leader.

Hopkins' criminal history includes Klamath County convictions of pleading guilty to two charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and impersonating a peace officer.

“Larry Hopkins, who is a convicted felon, was showing two firearms to a group of juveniles,” a police report said. “Hopkins told the juveniles that he was a police officer and was displaying a badge that said ‘special agent.’”

Hopkins had been convicted in 1986 in Michigan of the felony of false pretenses, police in Klamath Falls noted, and that triggered the felony firearms charges in Oregon. Felons in Oregon are in many cases barred from possessing firearms.

Hopkins, who lived at the time in Ashland, Oregon, appeared for only his initial parole meeting.

He never returned.

His parole officer sought his arrest and recommended a 20-month prison sentence, according to court records. A judge in January 2007 responded by issuing a statewide arrest warrant. The arrest order didn’t extend beyond the state. Authorities said such an arrest order is routine for lower-level crimes.

Last year, Klamath County Judge Marci Adkisson dropped the case because a deputy district attorney said the parole violation was “too old to effectively prosecute.”

Adkisson declined to comment Monday on the case.

Hopkins apparently also tried to flee justice on the felony charge in Michigan. Oregon court records show he was charged with being a fugitive from justice and that he was extradited from Oregon to Michigan in 1996.

Hopkins, 69, was charged Monday in New Mexico with being a felon in possession of firearms. The federal charges stem from a search of his New Mexico home in 2017. He was arrested over the weekend near Sunland Park, where he and others members of his group have been patrolling the border and stopping hundreds of migrants. Hopkins’ lawyer said he plans to enter a plea of not guilty at a bond hearing in Albuquerque next week.

Follow AP reporter Andrew Selsky on Twitter at twitter.com/andrewselsky. Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan added to this report.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, accused of holding immigrants at gunpoint in New Mexico, formerly lived in Ashland. Dona Ana County Jail booking photo.