Minnesota man convicted of impersonating U.S. Border Patrol agent

ANTELOPE WELLS, NEW MEXICO - JANUARY 30: A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks along the U.S.-Mexico border fence on January 30, 2019 in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Since October, dozens of large groups of migrants of 100 or more people have crossed the b (John Moore/Getty Images / Getty Images)

A federal jury in New Mexico has convicted a Minnesota man accused of impersonating a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old James Christopher Benvie of Albany was found guilty of two counts and faces up to three years in prison on each count.

His sentencing date hasn’t been set yet.

According to public court records and evidence at trial, Benvie was a leader and spokesperson for a group of vigilantes who established a “camp” at the Southwest border in New Mexico’s Dona Ana County.

Many members of the group wore badges, camouflage and other military-style clothing, often covered their faces with masks and carried pistols and assault rifles.

Prosecutors say Benvie misrepresented himself as a Border Patrol agent when stopping immigrants he suspected of crossing into the United States illegally.

Prosecutors say Benvie and other group members stopped six women and children from El Salvador last Apr. 15 and four adults and three children two days later without any legitimate law enforcement authority.

They say Benvie interrogated the immigrants both times before turning them over to actual Border Patrol agents.