(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Larry Hopkins, the alleged leader of an armed group that is stopping undocumented migrants after they cross the U.S.-Mexico border into New Mexico, made his first federal court appearance on Monday (April 22).
TV station KVIA reported that Hopkins pled not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Outside the court, Hopkins' attorney Kelly O'Connell said the 69-year-old would plead not guilty to a hearing next week in Albuquerque.
The FBI said it had arrested him on Saturday (April 20).
The arrest came two days after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused the group of illegally detaining migrants and New Mexico's Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered an investigation.
Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton, was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
"We're not worried about it, he's going to be cleared," said Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), blaming his arrest on political pressure from Lujan Grisham.
Hopkins is the "national commander" of the UCP, which has had around half a dozen members camped out on a rotating basis near Sunland Park since late February.