Author Topic: Larry Mitchell Hopkins AKA Johnny Horton Jr of United Constitutional Patriots  (Read 3747 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Anti immigrant vigilante leader and lifelong con artist, including posing as "full blood Cherokee" and son of a famed country singer.

Self-proclaimed New Mexico militia leader Johnny Horton Jr. sure can spin a heck of a tale. Like how he’s in direct contact with President Donald Trump and advising the commander-in-chief on border security. Or how he’s planning to lead hundreds of armed civilians to the Mexico border to ward off caravans of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

Horton offers almost no evidence for his claims. But that hasn’t stopped him from capitalizing on wild-eyed fears of people online in an effort to, as he describes it, raise money for the group he runs – the United Constitutional Patriots, which is headquartered in Flora Vista, New Mexico.

Horton’s fundraising attempts were documented in November in a Hatewatch article about how caravan paranoia was sowing division among militia diehards. The article revealed that Horton’s real name is Larry Hopkins, a fact he fails to make clear in his group’s fundraising pitches on PayPal and GoFundMe. Since then, Hopkins, 69, has increased the amount of money he’s asking for to more than $12,000, having already surpassed his previous goal of $2,500.

Now, Hatewatch has obtained records that show there’s more to Hopkins’ history than just his fictitious name and elaborate claims.

In 2006, he was arrested in Klamath County, Oregon, on suspicion of impersonating a police officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hopkins ended up pleading no contest to the impersonation charge and guilty to a gun possession charge. Both were felonies. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation.

The details outlined in his arrest report contain some striking similarities to the kinds of grandiose stories he’s been telling in recent months.

On Nov. 5, 2006, Klamath County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Daniel received a call from a reserve deputy, who was at a gas station just a short drive from the California state line. The reserve deputy said there was a man in the parking lot “bragging about going on drug stings in Louisiana and stating that he worked for the government,” according to the report.

In the report, the deputy described how Hopkins, who did not return calls seeking comment for this article, was dressed when he arrived.

“I observed that Larry Hopkins was wearing a black uniform style shirt and black pants,” the deputy wrote. “Hopkins had a badge similar in appearance to a police officer badge pinned above his left breast in the area a police officer would wear a badge. Hopkins had a gold star on each of his collars which is often a sign of rank. Hopkins had several military or law enforcement style pins all over his shirt in a uniform appearance.”

The reserve deputy, who’d remained at the gas station until backup arrived, said that Hopkins claimed to be working “directly under George Bush,” who was president at the time. Hopkins “also claimed to [be] doing ‘Operations’ in Afghanistan” and to be on his way “to pick up a team of agents to process a meth lab” in Northern California, the report said.

The report also said Hopkins, who was 57 at the time, had been showing off a gun to a group of teens before deputies arrived. When deputies searched Hopkins’ pickup truck, they found a piece of paper that had personal information, including the Social Security number, of an 18-year-old woman who’d been among the group.

When the deputy asked the young woman why Hopkins had her personal information, she said she believed Hopkins was going to help her get a job as a bounty hunter.

In the truck, deputies also found a Ruger pistol, a Winchester rifle and what the report described as “a stun device” disguised as a flashlight.

Hopkins told one of the deputies at the scene that he was a convicted felon and barred from possessing firearms, according to the report. He was arrested and booked into jail. Hopkins’ court case over the matter didn’t last long. He was indicted Nov. 13, 2006, in Klamath County Circuit Court on three felony counts: impersonating a peace officer and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The district court in Midland County, Michigan only had one page remaining on file from the 1986 case — a felony “register of actions” that gave few details on the arrest. Hatewatch was unable to obtain records from the 1986 conviction before publication.

About a month after the indictment in Oregon, Hopkins struck a deal with prosecutors. He agreed to plead no contest to the impersonation charge and guilty to one of the two firearms charges. The second gun charged was dropped in the deal, court records show.

“On 11/5/06 I gave the impression to others that I was a peace officer and I was in possession of a firearm having been previously convicted of a felony,” Hopkins wrote in his plea documents.

He also acknowledged that the new felony convictions would mean he was prohibited from buying, selling or otherwise possessing firearms – like the one in Michigan had.

Judge Richard Rambo sentenced Hopkins the same day. On top of jail time and probation, he was also hit with $1,500 in fines and court fees.

There was a hitch, however. Hopkins had already served jail time before sentencing and, with those days credited to his 60-day sentence, was supposed to report to the probation office on Jan. 8, 2007. Court documents show he checked in with the office on the day of his sentencing but never returned. A parole officer wrote in a report that the office called Hopkins on Jan. 8 and gave him two more days to show up. Jan. 10, 2007 came and went with no sign of him.

“At this time,” the parole officer wrote, “Mr. Hopkins [sic] whereabouts are unknown.” A statewide warrant was issued the next day for his arrest. Hopkins could have faced 20 months in prison had he been caught, court records show. No one ever caught up with Hopkins for the violation. The warrant went unanswered for more than a decade.

Last year, while clearing out old cases, prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the probation violation. The incident was “too old to effectively prosecute,” a deputy district attorney wrote. The request was signed by the judge the same day – June 6, 2018.


The Fantasy Life of an Armed Anti-Immigrant Militia Leader: A Portrait of a Grifter

Military Deserter; Country Music Star Imposter; Law Enforcement Impersonator; Bigamist; Career Criminal; Dead Beat Dad

By Nate Thayer June 13, 2019

The son of a country music Hall of Fame legend, U.S. Army Special Forces Vietnam combat veteran Colonel Johnny Horton, Jr., the commander of the heavily armed, paramilitary United Constitutional Patriots militia group, drew nationwide headlines earlier this year for detaining illegal immigrants at gunpoint on the New Mexico border and vowing to defend the United States against an “invasion of illegal criminals.”

Jerry Mitchell Hopkins aka Johnny Horton, Jr., self appointed five-star general and commander of the New Mexico based United Constitutional Patriots vigilante militia. “I know the enemy is close to the border. I am going to fight and I may give my life but at least I will be there and stand by my oath. They didn’t get me when I was in the army. If they get me now at least I will die for our country and what keeping America free is all about,” wrote Horton, Jr earlier this year.

The gun-toting right-wing extremist leader of the United Constitutional Patriots vigilante group is, in truth, a U.S. military deserter and career criminal, U.S. Army and court records show, who has lived the life of a fraud for more than a half century.

Johnny Horton, Jr. was never with the U.S. Army Special Forces and never went to Vietnam, according to his official U.S. military records, both claims he has repeatedly asserted publicly. His name is not even Johnny Horton, Jr., according to federal court records.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, aka Johnny Horton, Jr., is a multiple convicted felon, who has left a colorful trail of criminal arrests nationwide, according to numerous court records obtained in this investigation, living the life of a grifter, conman, and fraud for the last half century landing him in county jails and state prisons from Tennessee to Texas to Michigan to South Dakota to Idaho to Oregon to Montana to Washington to California and, as of April 22, Las Cruces, New Mexico where the leader of the most high-profile armed paramilitary militia group in the United States, the United Constitutional Patriots, now resides in the county jail awaiting trial on federal charges of possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Hopkins aka Horton didn’t “stand by his oath” when he was formally designated as AWOL by the United States Army and “dropped from the rolls–desertion” from Ft Lewis, Washington on December 13, 1967 and on the run from the law until he was apprehended in Montana in late 1968 on interstate auto theft and federal military desertion charges, according to Army and court records. His official U.S. military DD-214 records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, list him a “Prisoner IHCA USAG Ft. MacArthur, CA” as of October 20, 1969 and again as of July 29, 1970  until he was released from an Army brig as a private and given the boot on August 27, 1970.

Those records show he was discharged from the U.S. military with an “RE3B” separation code–a designation that makes him ineligible to ever serve in the U.S. armed forces again–and denotes “individuals who are not qualified for continued Army service”, “ineligible for enlistment”, and whose “separation is in the best interests of the Army.”

The official U.S. army DD214 military records of Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who claims he is a three-tour combat veteran of Vietnam with the U.S. Army Special Forces with the rank of Colonel. The records show Hopkins spent his entire Army career in a military prison in California on charges of desertion before being booted with the rank of private.

For more than 40 years, Horton, Jr. has lived a Walter Mitty life of an imposter, touring America with his music act falsely claiming to be the son of country music Hall of Fame legend, Johnny Horton, an identity he continues to insist is true despite the outraged protestations of Horton, Sr.’s actual family.

In November 1968, Hopkins was arrested in Montana on Washington state auto theft charges after he stole his girlfriends truck in Washington state and she complained to authorities. She also told the cops Hopkins was AWOL from the military. “Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 19, of Happy Camp, Calif., was picked up by Lake County Sheriff’s officers Tuesday on a federal warrant for interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. He has been transferred to Missoula. Hopkins reportedly is AWOL from the service and is charged with the auto theft in another state,” reads a November 1968 Montana news article headlined “AWOL Serviceman Arrested at Polson.” Another Montana news clip that day said “Larry M. Hopkins, 19, Pablo, charged with transporting a stolen car in interstate commerce, was ordered held in Missoula County Jail under a $2,000 bond Thursday after being arraigned by U.S. Commissioner J. E. Brodie. Hopkins allegedly transported a stolen automobile from Bremerton, Wash., to Gait, Calif. He was arrested Wednesday by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.”

 He was turned over to military authorities and spent the next two years in a military prison
Court records show that Hopkins has been arrested dozens of times by U.S. Army, federal, state, and local authorities and spent numerous spurts of time in county jails, military brigs, and state prisons in a multitude of states over the last half a century.

They show Hopkins has been arrested for impersonating a police officer, writing bad checks, prison escape, failure to pay child support, bigamy, auto theft, possession of firearms by a convicted felon, being AWOL from the U.S. Army, numerous probation violations, escaping from federal custody, and defrauding music club owners, among numerous other charges.

At least twice, in Oregon and Texas, he was arrested on charges of impersonating a cop. He has repeatedly claimed to be a U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel combat veteran of Vietnam, and claims to have a son who was killed in combat during the Gulf war.

2019 New Mexico federal court document listing reasons why Larry Mitchell Hopkins is a risk to be given bail and released from pre-trial incarceration on federal charges of “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.” Hopkins has fled from numerous criminal charges in several jurisdictions after being granted bail in recent decades. He remains in the Los Cruces, New Mexico county lockup awaiting trial as of June 2019.

In addition to his false Stolen Valor military claims and a career as the imposter son of a country music star, Hopkins also claims to be Elvis Presley’s cousin, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, a full blood Cherokee Indian, and in regular contact with President Donald Trump since they met while, Hopkins claims, he was playing at a Casino in Las Vegas in the 1980’s, interviews and court records show.
None of those claims are true, either.

Hopkins is the “commander” and founder of the high profile United Constitutional Patriots armed militia group which grabbed headlines in 2019 after detaining hundreds of migrants at gunpoint along the United States-Mexico border. The group has issued calls “for reinforcements” of other far-right armed extremists who, equipped with war weaponry and using military tactics, have “deployed” to the border to conduct vigilante operations. They have raised thousands of dollars in donations over social media.

“They are former Green Berets. They are former law enforcement and they know what they are doing. This is what we need, people who know what they are doing. We are asking for former military or law enforcement,” an April, 2019 United Constitutional Patriots radio broadcast seeking support said.

The group’s listed objective is to “uphold the Constitution of The United States of America” and to protect citizens’ rights “against all enemies both foreign and domestic” — which mimics the Oath of Enlistment taken by U.S. military service members.

Assuming his GI Joe fantasy life as a battle tested U.S. Army Special Forces combat veteran of Vietnam leading his own private army defending America’s borders from what Hopkins calls “an invasion of criminals, drug cartels, muslim terrorists, and sex traffickers”, Hopkins appointed himself a five star general of the United Constitutional Patriots, dressing in the full regalia including an Army Special Forces beret with five stars attached and five stars on shoulder epaulets, as well as U.S. army airborne wings on his chest.

Hopkins, of course, earned none of these ranks or medals. There have only been five five-stars in the U.S. Army and four in U.S. Navy in U.S. military history, and Larry Mitchell Hopkins is not one of them. They are George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, Omar Bradley, William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, Chester Nimitz, and William F. Halsey. General Omar Bradley, the most senior commander of American ground troops in Europe from D-Day in June 1944 to the German surrender in May 1945, was the last officer to receive the rank, in 1950. The rank has lain dormant since then. United States Founding father George Washington is the only American to have been accorded six stars.

But that didn’t stop military deserter Hopkins from assuming that rank as head of the paramilitary United Constitutional Patriots border militia vigilante group. The United Constitutional Patriots has deployed a rogues gallery of mostly overweight, middle-aged but heavily armed men dressed in mismatched military uniforms, adorned with regalia purchased over the Internet, to the border in New Mexico. Videos the group posted showing militia members wielding war weaponry ordering families, including young children, to sit on the dirt and wait for U.S. Border Patrol agents to take custody of them. The group is made up of “Americans that believe in the constitution and the rights of every American that will stand up for there [sic] rights in unity and help keep America safe,” according to their Facebook page.

On Facebook, the group says they are a nonprofit and insinuates they are associated with the United States Army Special Forces. “We are covered under the 501C3 Home of the 5th,” reads their Facebook page, referencing the U.S. army 5th Special Forces, a unit that Hopkins falsely claims to have served three tours in Vietnam with the rank of Colonel. Shortly before his April 2019 arrest, photographs of Hopkins show him wearing a 5th Special Forces Vietnam Veteran hat and accompanying medals, including airborne jump wings.

Hopkins actual military record is straightforward and documented. He was never attached to the U.S. Army Special Forces, his official DD-214 U.S. Army military records show. The entirety of his military service was spent in U.S. Army detention and prison after he deserted his unit in California shortly after enlisting in 1967 and went on the lam.

Hopkins fled when given a choice by a Montana judge in 1967 to join the army or go to jail and was on the run when he was arrested on interstate auto theft charges and federal charges as an Army deserter in 1969. U.S. army records show he spent the remainder of his Army career as a military “prisoner” in California before being less than honorably discharged two years later as an army private, having never gone to Vietnam.

In April, United Constitutional Patriots spokesman Jim Bevie defended Hopkins, saying “We’re just a group of volunteer patriots, veterans in law enforcement.” Bevie still contends Hopkins is “a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran…He was a victim in this.” Hopkins continues to assert that he is a combat-tested military veteran. Recently, Hopkins defended many of the more outlandish false claims he has made in recent years.

When questioned recently about his stolen valor false military record claims, Hopkins still double downs insisting he is a U.S. Army special forces Vietnam combat veteran. “I do want one thing cleared up real fast.  What you thought said stolen valor does not say stolen valor at all. It was stolen vehicle,” Hopkins told the right wing militia radio podcast in a live interview from his single wide trailer in the New Mexico desert earlier this year. “The girl that I was going with back in Texas in the, I don’t know, early ’80’s, I used her truck. I didn’t get back when I was supposed to and she didn’t know how to find me so instead of calling the Texas state patrol or whatever it was to put a locator on me she reported it stolen. The next morning I went in front of the judge on arraignment and it was all straightened out and dismissed immediately.”

Actually, Hopkins appears to have lost track of his myriad of criminal charges and less than stellar association with the United States military over recent decades. According to court records, it was 1969 when he was first arrested on auto theft charges for stealing a girlfriends vehicle while simultaneously having outstanding warrants for desertion from the U.S. military. Instead of being “all straightened out and dismissed”, Hopkins was turned over to the FBI who then turned him over to the custody of the United States Army where he spent the next few years in a California military brig.

Hopkins has indeed been charged with auto theft related charges in Texas, California, Washington, and Montana. Twice he was returned to military custody on federal charges of desertion from the Army.

“You said your records are sealed—your military records?” asked the internet podcast interviewer. “I was told not to go into that, because there are people who are making false statements, my lawyers are telling them to cease and desist. They are going to court,” Hopkins replied.

“My grandfather was a Green Beret and did four tours and got three purple hearts and his military records were not sealed because it was not like he was Navy Seal,” the suspicious interviewer from Renegade Radio responded. “I was just wondering why you are so special.”

“I am not going into it. I don’t mean to be disrespectful,” said Hopkins.

“Okay. I was just wondering what made you so top secret, like if you were in with the CIA.”

“I can’t talk about it. I cannot talk about it,” said Hopkins. “I do get my military disability. I do have my VA card. And I do have my DD-214. My DD219 is sealed.”

There is no such thing as a DD219. Hopkins made that up, too. A DD214 is the official military record issued to anyone who has ever served in the U.S. uniformed services, and includes any deployments, training, rank, and awards, among other specifics of a veterans service. Hopkins declined to share his DD214 when asked. It was later obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and more detailed portions of his military service record found in 2009 federal court records charging Hopkins with fleeing several states and assuming fake aliases to avoid paying court ordered child support payments.

Disclosing his DD214 service records “would have tied into the false valor, but if you have other ways of proving that you actually did serve then I will definitely back off. To be honest with you, I don’t even want to be involved with this. This is like watching soap operas,” the interviewer concluded.

“I am not going to talk about it. I was told that by my lawyers. If you come here I will prove to you I was part of the military,” said Hopkins.

“Okay, we are going to put the question of your arrest record to rest as everyone can change their ways and whatnot. I just have a question for you,” asked a far right militia member who hosts Renegade Network internet podcast. “If you’re not rich and you’re great friends with President Trump, Trey Gowdy, and Elvis Presley, how come they weren’t able to give you bond money, bail you out of jail, because I saw one of your bonds was $15,000. That is just something that boggles me there.”

“Just because you are friends with somebody doesn’t mean you are going to call them when you get in trouble,” Hopkins answered. “And as for being friends with Elvis Presley, that is going deeper. He is my cousin. That is proven.”

“The people that I know and who my friends are, I have earned every inch of their trust and respect. Now when you are talking about people and them, we have people—I’m not saying their names or anything—I’ve been told not to say their names any more because of the threats of the Democratic Party and on our radio show we have one of President Trump’s advisors. We have direct contact to the oval office through two other people. We are working directly with them,” Hopkins continued, referring to his rag-tag private militia efforts to intercept migrants on the southern border. “People can believe it or not. It is a fact. It’s true.”

Referring to Hopkins claims to be in regular contact with his “cousin” Elvis Presley, who Hopkins claims is alive and living in Hawaii, the radio interviewer asked “Why on earth, because you would be the man to know, would a man who is so successful go into hiding, Elvis, your cousin, in Hawaii. Don’t you think he would have been recognized by now.”

“He has been recognized. He has tried to come out. Go to youtube 2012 you will see a video he did that says ‘I’m still alive’.” Hopkins replied. “The whole deal was he was involved in the DEA. He had to go into hiding because he was a witness. It was a huge deal where the mafia was concerned. You can check that out. Google it. You will also find out he came out of hiding five years ago and right now he is ready to come back out for the whole world.”

A poster Hopkins put on his militia group Facebook page in March 2019 referring to himself : “Johnny Horton, Jr. American Rockstar” subtitled “American Patriot Standing Up For His Nations Sovereignty.”
Life as Country Music Star Imposter

For decades, Larry Mitchell Hopkins has played the country music circuit under the name Johnny Horton, Jr., the son of country music hall of fame legend Johnny Horton. Hopkins has been revealed as an imposter multiple times in several states.

Calling himself “traditional country music artist” Johnny Horton, Jr., Hopkins has videos of different versions of him singing the song “The Green Beret” with footage of soldiers in battle and the American flag waving in the background.

In May 1981, Hopkins was publicly exposed as an imposter during a show he was performing as Johnny Horton, Jr. at the Hanging Tree Tavern in Spokane, Washington. A suspicious drummer in his band checked his background and learned Johnny Horton had two children–both girls– but no sons. The drummer called Horton Sr.’s widow, Billie Jean, in Louisiana.”She was super hot about it,” he said.

At the time during live performances at roadside bars, Hopkins was referring to his “wonderful memories” with “daddy.” Horton Sr.’s widow was so incensed she flew from Louisiana to Spokane and was listening from the audience. “I was choking. It hurt me a lot. The Bible also says you should not steal, and you’re stealing from Johnny Horton still a great name in country music and I hope they put you in prison for a long time.”

A May 9, 1981 Associated Press article headlined “Widow exposes singer’s son as impostor” was published in papers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Hopkins had just married a woman under the name Horton, Jr. the day before Horton, Sr.’s widow flew from Louisiana to Spokane, Washington to confront the imposter. Upon learning her new husband was not Johnny Horton Jr., Hopkins’ new bride stormed out of the bar and filed for an annulment. In addition to her new husband not being who he said he was, she was unaware Hopkins was still married to another woman from Michigan at the time under a third alias.

“I think maybe she married me for the name rather than for myself,” Hopkins aka Horton said at the time.
Hopkins had no choice but to confess.

The real Johnny Horton with his then wife Billie Jean. Horton had two children–both girls. Larry Mitchell Hopkins was not one of them The bar owner was quoted as saying “He said he was in town when he started having troubles with his bus, which had broken down.” He asked to work as a singer, the bar owner said, “My mistake was not pulling his I.D., old gullible me. I was excited about someone that important coming in.”

“If I was wrong for what I did, for loving a man’s music and what he stood for, then I guess I’m wrong,” Hopkins told a reporter while sitting at the bar nursing a drink after his music act was fired. “But I’ll never do it again.”

But he did. In Michigan in 1986, Hopkins was arrested again for impersonating Johnny Horton Jr. at a bar he was performing at under the name Johnny Horton, Jr., and charged with “obtaining money under false pretenses.” He incurred additional charges for “prison escape” while held in the Michigan county lockup. At that time, he gave police his name as Scott Alan Curtiss but his real identity was discovered as Larry Mitchell Hopkins.

What is true is that Hopkins is a serial bigamist and dead beat dad who has married multiple women without the benefit of divorce or legal annulment from other, current wives and fathered children he has criss-crossed the country defying court ordered child support payments, according to federal and state court records from multiple jurisdictions over a 30 year period.

Offline educatedindian

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In 2010, federal agents arrested Hopkins aka Horton in Tennessee on warrants issued in South Dakota for a failure to pay child support originating in Washington state in 1994. Connie Mae Frederick had married Johnny Horton, Jr. in Washington State in November, 1994. Within a month, she discovered he was already married to another woman in Michigan under his real name, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, and she filed for an annulment. But by then, Ms. Frederick was already pregnant.

”I had known the defendant approximately one month prior to our marriage. Following our marriage, I learned that he had used multiple names; for example he was recently incarcerated under the name Larry Hopkins in Michigan. I have also learned that he was previously married. As Larry Hopkins, he married Nancy Jones in Monroe, Michigan in 1983. Using the name Scott Curtiss, he married Donna Garcia in the State of Texas in January, 1994,” wrote Connie Mae Frederick in a Washington State request for annulment of the marriage in November, 1994. “ To the best of my knowledge, neither of these marriages has been terminated by death or divorce. Although I am currently pregnant, I ask that this marriage be determined to be invalid as the respondent was unable to contract a new marriage.” She was granted child support payments by a Washington state court at that time, but Hopkins never paid anything and continued to criss-cross the country under aliases for years.

On December 1, 2009, a South Dakota federal grand jury indicted Hopkins for failing to pay over $65,000 in past due child support. On May 1, 1995, 14 years earlier, Hopkins had been ordered by the Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of Pend Oreille, to pay $367 per month for his minor child. “At the time of indictment, Larry M. Hopkins had not made any payments toward his child support arrearages, and the total arrearage amount was $64,225,” said the 2009 South Dakota indictment.

Horton was arrested in Tennessee in 2009 and extradited to South Dakota. As he had for decades, he left a trail of true believers who attested to his good character.

When the law has eventually caught up with him, Hopkins has submitted a tsunami of false character witness statements in his defense to avoid child support payments, including claims of being a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran of Vietnam. “This is a man who served his country through three tours in Vietnam and was a Colonel with the Green Beret special forces,” wrote John Andrew Young retired “CPL U.S.M.C.”, in a court submitted character reference for Hopkins after he was arrested in Tennessee in 2010 on federal warrants for absconding on child support payments that began in Washington state courts in 1994 and migrated to federal courts in South Dakota years later while Hopkins was living under the name Johnny Horton, Jr. in Tennessee. “This is a man who is a college graduate with many skills in many different fields. Johnny also has a big heart and he is kind to others. He is a talented songwriter/singer/entertainer and somewhat of a comic. He performed in many shows in country music with other friends of his, like Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Trey Young, Charlie Louvin, and many more country stars.”

None of those claims are true, either–beginning with Hopkins real name. On June 3, 2010 special agents from the Inspector General’s office  of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services interviewed James Russell Elkins, a Tennessee musician who said he first met Johnny Horton Junior in November 2009 at a Waffle House in Dickson, Tennessee where he agreed to manage Horton’s music career. “Horton  played five shows booked by Elkins in places like Memphis, TN and Tunica, MS. Most of the shows were charity benefits that paid approximately $1500,” reads the federal court document. “Elkins had difficulty booking shows for Horton because Horton lied about his experience and background. In addition, Horton was not a very talented musician.”

“Elkins stopped working with Horton a few months ago because Horton was a chronic liar,” reads the federal court investigation report. Horton “sold cars at a used car lot in Dickson and also works as  a bail bondsman. Horton has a license and a badge identifying him as a bail bondsman.”

“Elkins asked Horton for his birth certificate to prove Horton’s claim that he was the son of the famous country music star Johnny Horton, who is deceased. Horton, Jr.  claimed he could not find his birth certificate and later told Elkins his real name is Larry Hopkins.”

“Horton and his band were scheduled to appear at a venue called The Limelight. Part of the event was to be televised, but Horton didn’t show out of fear that he would be discovered as a fraud since he was falsely claiming to be Johnny Horton’s son,” the report continued.

A federal law enforcement investigative report submitted to a South Dakota federal court which had indicted Larry Mitchell Hopkins. “Elkins had difficulty booking shows for Horton because Horton lied about his experience and background. In addition, Horton was not a very talented musician.”

Horton, despite evidence to the contrary, still maintains he is the illegitimate son of Johnny Horton. “People say Johnny Horton doesn’t have a son. He does have a son—me,” Horton said earlier this yer. “I was illegitimate. A man by the name of Dan  Hopkins married my mother back in 1948 before my Dad was ever a country music singer, married my mom to give her a name.

In 2015, Hopkins aka Horton, Jr. managed to wangle his way into being inducted into the “Country Music “Legend of Legends” Hall of Fame,” an obscure “pay-to-play” award based in rural Texas. The announcement, which received minor local media publicity, was accompanied by a photograph captioned “Dale Everitt, our own Veteran’s Service Officer is holding Johnny Horton Sr’s (Deceased) plaque denoting his induction.  The Father and Son were both inducted at the same time last year.”

In November 2015, Hopkins published a song and video of the late Johnny Horton’s hit country music song “North to Alaska.” On youtube it is titled “JOHNNY HORTON JR & HIS DAD JOHNNY HORTON singing together NORTH TO ALASKA.”

Commentators on the youtube video include relatives of Johnny Horton who remain outraged by Hopkins falsely claiming to be the country music legend’s son.
“I don’t know who this fool is, but I am Johnny Horton’s cousin, and the cousin of his daughters,” wrote Jimmie Robinson. “Johnny never had a son. My Dad, Jim Robinson would roll over in his grave about this imposter.”
“There is no Johnny Horton Jr related to Johnny Horton. There is a Tommy Horton. I knew Johnny & am still friends of his family,” wrote another. “His widow busted one guy claiming to be JH Jr a few years ago, don’t know if this is the same guy. I do know the Horton video came from film owned by me. I released it to Bear Family Records in Germany for release as a DVD. Neither Bear family or myself has authorized the use of the video by anyone other than for personal use by purchasers. (This is) fraud and unauthorized use.”
“This fraud is Larry Mitchell Hopkins from Oregon. When he was arrested in Tennessee in 2010, the address he gave was a livestock trailer dealer in Tennessee,” wrote another. “He also says that he is Elvis Presley’s cousin, a graduate of the University of Wyoming and a full blood Cherokee Indian. Whats worse is that he can’t sing worth a crap…”
“Incredible! This imposter will will rot in The Lake of Fire tormented forever,” commented someone using the name “A Bible and a Gun”. “There are indeed consequences, if not on this side then on the other side. Ephesians 5 11 – reprove. reprove means to expose good work.”

By now, Hopkins has a lifetime of arrests in multiple states for living the life of a grifter and fraud on his resume. In another recording released on youtube in 2011 of the song “The Green Berets”, which Hopkins “dedicated to all the armed forces and may God Bless You,” a former band member of the “Johnny Horton, Jr. band” wrote: “This man is a total fraud. His real name is Larry Hopkins, and he’s nothing but a gypsy drifter who makes his living ripping off unsuspecting musicians to back him up. This man is NOT Johnny Horton’s illegitimate son, has no relation only a tribute performer, and a bad one at that. He stole money from a band I used to play in, when setting up a concert 6/17/2012, at the Civic Center in Farmington, NM. He can’t sing with a damn, and is a pathological liar. This man was investigated by the FBI, and nothing good was reported by them. He will deny everything said without conscious. Best advice is to avoid this man with mental disorder and stick to people with noted credentials. Only then will you not be sorry.”

Larry Hopkins trail of criminal conduct stretching decades and across the country are long, broad, varied, and redundant. Random snippets include in 1975, Hopkins was arrested for “escaping federal custody” and “impersonating a police officer” in Odessa, Texas, according to newspaper archives. “Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 25, of Seymour (was) charged with impersonating a peace officer in connection with an incident on June 7 at Eighth and Lee in which a man posed as a policeman,” read a November 26, 1975, Odessa (Texas) American newspaper article at the time. An earlier March 8, 1975 Odessa American article says “Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 25, (was indicted) for escaping from federal custody.”

He was arrested for passing eight bad checks in Missoula, Montana in 1978 for $2,452 as payment for wages to his employees of the company he ran, the John Horton Pole Co. Hopkins, under the name Johnny Horton, was convicted of a felony and sentenced to ten years, later reduced down to five years, in Montana state prison.

In February 1986, Hopkins was arrested in Michigan for “obtaining money under false pretenses” for misrepresenting himself to a Michigan music club owner as the son of country music star Johnny Horton.

In October 1993, Hopkins was arrested again in Michigan for “Weapons – Firearms – Possession of a Loaded Firearm in or Upon Vehicle.” Police listed his aliases as “Johnny Norton, Jr., Larry M. Hopkins, and Scott Alan Curtiss.”

....On April 22, 2019, Jerry Mitchell Hopkins was arrested in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the “headquarters command post” of his United Constitutional Patriots militia army–his single wide trailer at a trailer park in the remote desert of southeastern New Mexico near the border of both Texas and Mexico–by the FBI on federal charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon–the third time he has faced those same charges in recent decades.

According to the criminal complaint, Hopkins possessed nine firearms and ammunition in his home in San Juan County, N.M., which were confiscated by agents of the Federal Bureau of investigation in a November 2017 raid by the agents.

Hopkins was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of of at least three previous felony convictions, including possessing a loaded firearm in the state of Michigan in 1996; being a felon in possession of a firearm in the state of Oregon in 2006; and impersonating a peace officer in the state of Oregon in 2006.”

Why it took two years to arrest Hopkins after the confiscation of his mini-arsenal–a clear federal violation for any convicted felon–remains unclear. The FBI declined to respond to a request for comment.

Federal agents also appear to have missed or ignored other felony offenses under his real name, and other aliases including Johnny Horton Jr. He is currently held in the New Mexico county lockup awaiting trial on those charges to which he has plead not guilty.

The leader of a militia group that had been detaining asylum-seekers in New Mexico at gunpoint was beaten in jail, according to the man’s lawyer and a sheriff’s department. Larry Hopkins, 69, was “jumped and beaten by fellow detainees,” according to a letter his lawyer sent to the jail on Wednesday. Hopkins, who also goes by the alias Johnny Horton Jr., was arrested Saturday on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Hopkins led the United Constitutional Patriots, whose members, some armed, held migrants who had crossed the border with Mexico until Border Patrol agents arrived.

“I talked to him afterwards yesterday and he was beaten, bruised, injured, dazed — and thoroughly demoralized,” Attorney Kelly O’Connell wrote to the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

A spokesperson for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Wednesday that an "alleged battery" at the county jail was under investigation. Spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said in a statement that the incident occurred after 9 p.m. on Monday and that the reported victim was Hopkins. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Jameson said, and transferred Tuesday from the jail by the U.S. Marshals Service.

O’Connell wrote that he was deeply concerned over the “violent attack.” “Mr. Hopkins’ case is certainly high profile, and he has developed a controversial reputation because of his border activities,” he wrote.

Hopkins has been described as the "commander" of the United Constitutional Patriots, and the group's actions, posted as videos to social media, has drawn an outcry from the local police chief, politicians and activists. Hopkins' arrest Saturday stemmed from gun charges based on reports to an FBI tip line about "alleged militia extremist activity" at his home in Flora Vista, New Mexico, and a subsequent visit to his residence by FBI agents, according to a criminal complaint.

In describing reports to that tip line, the FBI agent who wrote the complaint said Hopkins allegedly said the group was "training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama."

O'Connell has said that accusation is "categorically false" and questioned the timing of Hopkins' arrest.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Union Pacific railroad company determined it owned the land where the United Constitutional Patriots had been camped out and asked remaining members to vacate. A short time later, the last members of the group peacefully left the property and cleared the camp....