Three Deming Residents Appear in Federal Court on Kidnapping and Firearms Charges
ALBUQUERQUE—Jessie A. Hopper, Jr., 29; Jessie Hopper, Sr., 53; and Polly Hopper, 60, all of Deming, New Mexico, made their initial appearances this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on a criminal complaint charging them with kidnapping and firearms charges. The three defendants remain in custody pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings, which are scheduled for May 21, 2014.
The criminal complaint charges the three defendants with kidnapping a woman and her two young children and transporting them in interstate commerce. It also charges and Hopper, Jr. and Hopper, Sr. with brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. According to the complaint, Hopper, Jr. and Hopper, Sr. allegedly kidnapped the victims in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on May 8, 2014, with the assistance of Polly Hopper. Hopper, Jr. allegedly handcuffed the adult victim and brandished a firearm at her to force her to comply with his demands, including a demand that she telephone family members to assure them that she was voluntarily leaving Arkansas with Hopper, Jr.
The criminal complaint alleges that on May 8 and 9, 2014, the three defendants drove the victims from Arkansas to the defendants’ residence in Deming. It further alleges that on May 9 and 10, 2014, Hopper, Jr. and Hopper Sr. sexually assaulted the adult victim several times. On May 9, 2014, Hopper, Jr. allegedly brandished a firearm at the victim to force her to submit to a sexual assault by Hopper, Sr.
The three defendants were arrested by the New Mexico State Police on state charges on May 10, 2014. They remained in state custody until they were transferred to federal custody on May 16, 2014, to face the charges in this case. The state charges, which are being pursued by the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico, are still pending.
If convicted on the federal kidnapping charges, each defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty any term of years to life imprisonment. If convicted on the firearms charges, Hopper, Jr. and Hopper, Sr. each face seven years in prison that must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the kidnapping charges.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces Office of the FBI, the New Mexico State Police, and the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico. The FBI in Little Rock, Arkansas; the Garland County (Arkansas) Sheriff’s Office; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas also assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy M. Castellano and Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.