08:14 GMT14 August 2020
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    The man has been under investigation since 2017, and this year, he was arrested on charges of illegal weapon possession.

    Larry Mitchell Hopkins, the leader of the right-wing militia United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), which reportedly detained illegal migrants on the US-Mexico border, has been accused of planning to assassinate former US President Barack Obama, former State Secretary Hillary Clinton and billionaire George Soros.

    The man, arrested earlier in April on charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, reportedly told witnesses in 2017 that UCP was training to conduct the assassinations, according to court papers.

    "Hopkins also allegedly made the statement that the United Constitutional Patriots were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, because of these individuals' support of Antifa," the court papers read, referring to left-wing "Anti-fascist" activists.

    Hopkins' lawyer, Kelly O'Connell, denied the allegations of the assassination plans. "My client told me that is not true," he said.

    UCP spokesman Jim Benvie said the group's aim was to attract attention to the border crisis through near-daily videos posted online.

    "Bringing up people's past from years ago is getting a little old," said Benvie, referring to the charge against Hopkins. "We're not breaking any laws, we're not pointing guns at people, we're not putting anybody in jeopardy, including the illegal immigrants."

    The group's Facebook page claims it is composed of "Americans that believe in the constitution and the rights of every American that will stand up for there [sic] rights in unity and help keep America safe."

    ​Hopkins came on the FBI's radar back in 2017, after the bureau was tipped off about his involvement in "militia extremist activity."

    Hopkins and his group have been criticized by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for detaining immigrants and handing them over to the US Border Patrol, comparing the practice to kidnapping. Several videos published by the group show UCP members handing hundreds of migrants over to the US Border Patrol.

    The Border Patrol is officially not supposed to cooperate with vigilante groups, but with their forces already stretched thin, more people have flocked to the border and formed groups like UCP in order to assist agents in barring thousands of migrants from crossing the border.

    "I'm not a militia specialist," O'Connell said when asked about UCP's motives. He added, "They believe they are helping to enforce the laws of America on immigration."

    Hopkins' group helped the US Border Patrol detain some 5,600 migrants over the past 60 days alone, according to a Reuters report.

    Last week, PayPal and GoFundMe suspended UCP's accounts. According to a PayPal spokesperson, the group's account was suspended after a video surfaced that shows UCP members rounding up some 200 migrants, the Daily Beast reported.


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    assassination, vigilante, militia, US Customs and Border Patrol, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, United States
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