The self-described “commanding officer” of a militia group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border was arrested this week on federal weapons charges, along with another “patriot” group member.
Kevin “KC” Massey was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and was taken into custody Monday by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The 48-year-old Massey, who was seen in a recent video chasing and then detaining three migrants who crossed the border, was convicted of burglary in 1988.
The “American Patriot” militia volunteer was arrested at a motel in Brownsville, Texas, and denied bond at a court appearance Tuesday.
Massey was among the first volunteers to set up Camp LoneStar on a privately owned ranch near the Rio Grande to patrol for suspected undocumented immigrants.
Neighbors and law enforcement have complained about the patrols, saying they complicate an already difficult situation.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent fired several shots Aug. 29 at an armed militia member who also turned out to be a convicted felon illegally possessing a firearm.
That group member, 44-year-old John Foerster, was arrested Tuesday on federal weapons charges.
The Brownsville man pleaded guilty to felony burglary in 2001 and served a prison term, and Foerster later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a switchblade and brass knuckles.
Another “American Patriot” was arrested in September on a third-degree felony charge after he allegedly left an unlicensed 9 mm handgun in a convenience store restroom.
A militia member who attempted to claim ownership of that weapon was charged with making a false report, a misdemeanor.
Massey said at the time that the pair would not be permitted to rejoin the militia group because their actions damaged the patrol’s reputation and distracted from its agenda.
A volunteer from Indiana who attempted to organize a protest to shut down border crossings said he left Camp LoneStar because group leaders dismissed his concerns about felons carrying weapons.
“We have a Second Amendment to protect your right to bear arms, but we are also a nation of laws — and there’s a reason we don’t let felons own guns,” said Rob Chupp, an Indiana militia volunteer.