Border vigilante Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer was pretty sure he had discovered a stash-house for sex traffickers. Or maybe it was built for a shoot-out with law enforcement.
“This is where they’ll make a final stand,” Meyer said in a video posted online recently, as he and his associates tromp through what appears to be a private Arizona home.
Meyer and allies of his organization, Tucson anti-homelessness group Veterans on Patrol, searched all over the house for proof of the criminal conspiracies they claim exist in the Arizona border region. They hunted through what appeared to be a child’s room; they threw open cupboards.
Meyer examined a dirty toilet bowl to get a sense of the last time someone was in the house. At one point, his companions thought they’d discovered an entrance to a secret underground chamber, then realized it was just a drain.
Meyer and his cohort aren’t members of law enforcement, and there’s no evidence in the video that they had permission to be on that property. But Meyer tends to go wherever he wants in pursuit of his self-directed investigations. Then he posts videos.
Now Meyer’s social media notoriety has caught up with him. On Sunday, deputies from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department arrested Meyer on a felony trespassing charge, the result of a complaint they received in June. Meyer and Veterans on Patrol didn’t respond to requests for comment.
That case has been helped by Meyer’s eagerness to post videos which often appear to show him trespassing online.
“He was videotaping himself in different areas,” Pima County Deputy James Allerton, a department spokesperson, told The Daily Beast. “Part of our probable cause was from social media posts.”
Meyer’s videos helped rocket him to fame on the fringe internet right in June after he claimed to have discovered a “child sex trafficking camp.” Many on the right-wing fringe embraced his claim, using a tenuous connection between Hillary Clinton and the Mexican corporation that owned the land the camp sat on, to further their Pizzagate-style conspiracies. Donations flooded into Meyer’s group, and his Tucson camp site soon became a gathering place for various militia and conspiracy-theory figures.
Police debunked Meyer’s allegations, saying the site was just a homeless camp.
Meyer’s online exploits haven’t endeared him to police, either. Meyer slammed the trespassing charge in a Facebook post as “obvious obstruction” and claimed he was “more determined than ever,” but the trespassing felony may soon be the least of his worries.
A local TV station asked police how many open investigations they have involving Meyer. The answer: “several.”