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Minuteman arrested for pointing rifle at MCSO deputy

PHOENIX — A man who identified himself as a Minuteman was arrested Saturday after pointing a rifle at a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputy, court documents said.

MCSO deputies P. Arend and G. Montanez were searching the area around mile marker 140 on Interstate 8 when a self-identified Minuteman, Richard Malley, pointed a rifle and a flashlight at Arend and began issuing commands.

Arend identified himself as a deputy sheriff and asked that Malley lower his weapon. Malley demanded to see identification and did not lower the rifle.

When asked to show identification, Malley said he did not carry any as he feared a drug cartel would discover who he was.

After Arend showed Malley his patches and clothing, Malley lowered the rifle and said he, along with two other Minutemen, were searching for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. When Arend and Montanez arrived and flashed their vehicle’s high beams and honked — a common practice to lure drug smugglers — Malley felt he was witnessing a crime.

Malley later admitted he had never seen a drug load being picked up.

After diffusing the situation, Arend asked Malley to hand over his weapons, to which he replied “You aren’t taking my weapons.”

Malley, an Air Force veteran, was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .45-caliber handgun and a knife.

Malley was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated assault, a felony.