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NATION ROUNDUP: Member of civilian border group facing firearms charges

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border is set to make his first court appearance following his weekend arrest on firearms charges.

Larry Hopkins was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms. He reportedly faced similar charges 13 years ago in Oregon.

The 69-year-old is scheduled for an appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Armed civilian groups have been a fixture on the border for years, especially when large numbers of migrants come through. The latest influx includes many families and children.

 

Family charged with scheme to resell Masters tickets

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Four members of a Texas family are facing federal charges in what prosecutors say was a scheme that used stolen identities to get tickets to the Masters golf tournament, then resell those tickets at a healthy profit.

Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Augusta charged Stephen Michael Freeman of Katy, Texas, with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft. Freeman’s parents and a sister were also charged with conspiracy.

Court records say that since 2013 the family has used names chosen from a bulk mailing list to enter the lottery Augusta National Golf Club uses to sell Masters tickets. The names were submitted with email addresses the family controlled.

Court records did not list attorneys for Freeman or his charged relatives.

 

Stock indexes end lower after listless trading day

Wall Street capped a day of mostly sideways trading Monday with a slight gain for the benchmark S&P 500 index, as a spike in crude oil prices sent energy companies broadly higher.

Energy sector stocks climbed as the price of crude oil hit its highest level since October after the U.S. government moved to further block Iranian oil exports.

Even with the surge in energy stocks, losses in banks, real estate companies and elsewhere in the market led to a mostly lower finish for the major U.S. indexes. Smaller company stocks fell more than the rest of the market.

Homebuilders slumped following a report showing that sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in March.

 

SpaceX suffers serious setback with crew capsule accident

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has suffered a serious setback in its effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit this year, with the fiery loss of its first crew capsule during testing.

Over the weekend, the company’s recently flown Dragon crew capsule was engulfed in smoke and flames on an engine test stand at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX was testing the Dragon’s abort thrusters when Saturday’s accident occurred.

The company said the test area was clear and no one was injured.

This capsule flew to the International Space Station last month on a crew-less trial run, and it was supposed to be reused in a launch abort test in June. Another capsule was supposed to follow with two astronauts as early as July. Astronauts haven’t launched from Florida since 2011.

 

2 men arrested for putting KKK hoods on Confederate statues

RALEIGH, N.C. — Police say they arrested two people who climbed and placed Ku Klux Klan hoods on statues at a Confederate monument in North Carolina.

News outlets report that Enzo Niebuhr and Jody Anderson were detained Sunday during a protest near the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy monument. The monument is in the capital of Raleigh near the Statehouse.

Police said Niebuhr and Anderson are charged with defacing a public monument and disorderly conduct.

The news outlets quote the “Smash Racism Raleigh” group as saying that its members were holding a peaceful protest to provide context about the history of the statues. The group says Niebuhr and Anderson shouldn’t have been arrested.