A member of a Minutemen militia was arrested Saturday night
for allegedly pointing his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy.
Richard Malley, 49, and two other group members were patrolling the area along Interstate 8 in search of illegal activity when two deputies approached, according to court documents. The Minutemen watch for unauthorized immigrants and drug smugglers crossing to Arizona from Mexico.
Malley pointed his rifle and flashlight at one of the deputies. He was also armed with a .45 caliber pistol and a fixed-blade knife. The deputy identified himself as a law enforcement officer, but Malley did not lower his weapon. Instead, he demanded that the deputy provide him with identification.
The deputy showed Malley his Maricopa County Sheriff uniform, including his badge, the patches on his sleeves and the word "Sheriff" across his chest. He then asked Malley to lay down his weapons, but Malley refused.
Malley was taken into custody once more deputies arrived. He said he thought the deputy was a drug smuggler and was in fear for his life.
"He's lucky he's still alive and he's lucky my deputy is still alive. It could have been a very serious confrontation in the darkness at 9:30 at night," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Fox 10
. "Somebody is gonna get killed one of these days over this situation."
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