Authorities say a member of a right-wing armed militia has been arrested after allegedly impersonating a U.S. Border Patrol agent in mid-April.
Jim Benvie, 44, who acts as a spokesman for the 'Guardian Patriots,' was arrested on Friday in Oklahoma after an arrest warrant for Benvie was issued last Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Justice filed two federal charges that allege the 44-year-old tried passing himself off as a Border Agent in April. Photographs taken in March show Benvie wearing a camouflage jacket with a badge that read "Fugitive Recovery Agent" and a patch with an eagle-head insignia.
The Guardian Patriots sparked outrage earlier this year after it was revealed they were detaining hundreds of migrants without any type of legal authority. In one video of the incident, militia members could be seen holding around 200 migrants, which included women and children, at gunpoint until U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived.
“We’re just here to support the Border Patrol and show the public the reality of the border,” Benvie told the New York Times.
Benvie remains in federal custody while awaiting a detention hearing on Tuesday in Oklahoma. Court documents show Benvie is also facing fraud charges related to a child-cancer charity scam that he was allegedly running.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that the agency “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands."
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