GUTHRIE, Okla. - A man charged with impersonating a U.S. officer or employee is currently being held in federal custody in Oklahoma.
James Christopher Benvie, 44, of Albany, Minnesota is facing two counts of false personation of a U.S. officer or employee, according to federal prosecutors.
Benvie, who has been a spokesman for a small group of armed civilians patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, was arrested last Friday in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Officials did not provide specific details on the allegations, including what kind of officer or employee that Benvie is accused of impersonating. However, they allege Benvie committed the offenses on April 15 and 17 in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.
In a past interview with the El Paso Times, Benvie described himself as the "face" of the United Constitutional Patriots. The group, at the time, had been camping out and patrolling an area of the border in Anapra, New Mexico.
"This is Mexico. This is where the wall ends. This is dangerous where we’re standing, okay? These people have spotters. This is well organized," Benvie said. We are here just like anybody else, and the only time we’re going to open fire is if we feel imminent threat or danger to our lives."
Logan County undersheriff Troy Dykes said the arrest happened in Guthrie after an unrelated court matter at the Logan County courthouse.
FBI Oklahoma City said they assisted on behalf of FBI Albuquerque.
"We provided courtroom security during the docket, which the subject was present for. During the docket, he stepped out and was walking outside the courthouse and, at that time, he was detained by the FBI," Dykes said.
In Oklahoma, Benvie is facing charges of possession of a stolen vehicle.
According to online court records, an arrest warrant was filed in early June, stating the allegations stem from a July 2018 incident.
Guthrie police were reportedly contacted regarding a stolen vehicle out of Montgomery County, Tennessee.
Police said Benvie was spotted sitting behind a table, alleging to be raising money for a child with cancer; however, he was unable to produce a name.
"It's believed that Benvie was committing fraud by collecting donations, [a] child with cancer that he was unable to provide any information about, a child who allegedly lives in Tennessee," the arrest warrant states.
Police further received information that a GoFundMe page set by Benvie for the child was "bogus."
An attorney representing Benvie on the Oklahoma charges told News 4 that he could not comment on the matters Monday.
Oklahoma City-based public defender William Earley is representing Benvie regarding the federal charges. Requests for a comment were not returned Monday.
Benvie is scheduled for a detention hearing on Tuesday afternoon and will be transported to the District of New Mexico for prosecution. He faces up to three years in prison if convicted.