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Prosecutors say member of armed border group is flight risk

June 24, 2019
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This undated photo shows James Christopher Benvie. Federal prosecutors say Benvie, who has been spokesman for a group of armed civilians that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border, is a flight risk and should remain jailed on accusations of impersonating a federal agent. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)
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This undated photo shows James Christopher Benvie. Federal prosecutors say Benvie, who has been spokesman for a group of armed civilians that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border, is a flight risk and should remain jailed on accusations of impersonating a federal agent. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a man who has been spokesman for a group of armed civilians that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border is a flight risk and should remain jailed on accusations of impersonating a federal agent.

A grand jury in New Mexico indicted 44-year-old James Christopher Benvie last week on two counts of false personation of a U.S. officer or employee. The indictment alleges Benvie, of Minnesota, impersonated a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, on April 15 and 17.

The civilian groups have been widely criticized after videos surfaced showing them detaining immigrants.

Benvie was arrested Friday in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Prosecutors say in court filings that Benvie is dangerous and should remain detained.

His attorney, Bill Earley, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

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