Member of Guardian Patriot militia arrested on federal charges in Oklahoma

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The spokesperson for the militia operating out of Sunland Park was arrested on federal charges of impersonating a federal officer in Oklahoma on Friday.

James Christopher Benvie, known as ‘Jim Benvie’ on his social media accounts, is facing two counts of False Personation of an Officer or Employee of the United States Government. Benvie has become well-known on social media for his videos depicting his group, known as the Guardian Patriots, of patrolling the border fence near Anapra in search of migrants attempting to cross the border illegally.

The group gained national notoriety when a video of them detaining a group of 300 migrants by gunpoint circulated on social media after it was live-streamed by a member of the group. The federal indictment alleges Benvie impersonated a Border Patrol Agent on April 15 and April 17, 2019 — the dates the videos were posted to social media.

Benvie is the second person from the militia to be arrested on federal charges, in April, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, was also arrested on federal charges of possession of a firearm by a felon. The group was previously known as the United States Constitutional Patriots while under Hopkins’ leadership, however, after his arrest, Benvie decided a name change was in order to separate the existing group from previous leadership.

Most recently, Benvie has become associated with ‘We Build the Wall,’ the group behind the private border barrier built on private land in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Although ‘We Build the Wall’ has never claimed Benvie is part of the organization, he was granted unmitigated access to their building process and land during the erection of the private border barrier.

In addition to the new federal charges in Oklahoma, Benvie is also currently facing a Possession of Vehicle charge after being indicted July 2, 2018 for being in possession of a Penske moving truck that was reported stolen in April 2018.

At the time the militia was originally removed from railroad land in Sunland Park in April, Benvie was in Oklahoma for a hearing regarding the case. A probable cause affidavit of arrest was issued by the Logan County District Court on June 6, according to court records.

Federal court records show Benvie will remain in custody until he appears before a judge. He is scheduled for a detention hearing in the U.S. District Court of Western Oklahoma on Tuesday, June 25 at 1:30 p.m. CST.

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