His group claimed to be enforcing the law when they rounded up undocumented immigrants at gunpoint. But now after months of contesting charges, militia leader Larry Hopkins has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Hopkins heads the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), a vigilante group that made headlines this year after it released footage of members ordering migrants to the ground at gunpoint near the El Paso border. Many of the people at the opposite end of their rifles were children.
For all his role-playing as an officer, Hopkins had his own criminal history. In April, he was arrested on weapons charges. He pleaded not guilty, and his followers cased him as a martyr for their cause. But on Thursday, he changed his plea, prompting members of his conspiratorial group to falsely claim his guilty plea had been fabricated.
Hopkins, 70, is not allowed to own a gun. He has three felony convictions, including a weapons charge in Michigan in 1996, being a felon in possession of a firearm in Oregon in 2006, and impersonating a peace officer around the same time.