FBI agents visited Larry Mitchell Hopkins’ Flora Vista, New Mexico, residence in November 2017 after learning of the alleged statement. Witnesses also reported seeing members of the militia with firearms at the home, the probable cause statement said.
The FBI recovered nine weapons and ammunition during the search, according to court papers.
The 69-year-old Hopkins — who is also known as Johnny Horton Jr. — was charged Monday with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition stemming from the 2017 search, according to a criminal complaint.
The leader of United Constitutional Patriots was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he had been previously convicted of at least three felonies, including criminal impersonation of a peace officer, according to the criminal complaint.
The US Attorney’s Office declined to say why Hopkins was charged more than a year after his residence was searched.
O’Connell said the guns and ammunition did not belong to Hopkins.
“According to the charges that I read, this is not dealing with what is happening down here,” O’Connell said, referring to the militia’s presence at the border.
The court document also detailed what witnesses alleged when they contacted the FBI about Hopkins and the militia.
Reports to an FBI tip line in October 2017 alleged “militia extremist activity” in Flora Vista, according to an FBI agent’s probable cause statement.
Hopkins was identified as the group’s so-called commander and his home was its “base,” court papers said.
Witnesses reported seeing about 20 militia members “armed with AK-47 rifles and other firearms” at Hopkins’ residence, 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,” according to court papers.
Soros is a billionaire investor and philanthropist.
The court papers didn’t say when Hopkins allegedly made the statement.
The armed group had reportedly detained migrants near Sunland Park, New Mexico, federal prosecutors said.
Last week, videos posted online purported to show migrants being held by the militia before being turned over to the US Border Patrol. In the footage, people wearing full military fatigues can be seen with handguns strapped to their sides, wearing gloves and black masks.
O’Connell said the group believes “they are helping to enforce the laws of America on immigration.”
Hopkins faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail if convicted. He will remain in custody while he awaits a preliminary hearing set for April 29.
CNN’s Dakin Andone, Catherine Shoichet and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.