Humanitarian Activist Charged With Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Into Arizona

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
June 4, 2019US News

A number of volunteers with the organization ‘No More Deaths,’ which provides aid to illegal border crossers, were arrested in March for trespassing and abandoning food in a wildlife refuge. Now, one more volunteer faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly smuggling illegal aliens into the United States.

Scott Daniel Warren was arrested in 2018 when Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) found him sheltering two Central American nationals in one of the organization’s “aid stations” dubbed “The Barn,” according to Arizona Daily Star. Warren’s defense attorney, Gregory Kuykendall, claims the immigrants were distressed and given “basic human kindness.”

But the federal prosecutor, Nathaniel Walters, accused Warren of providing more than sheer kindness.

“This case is not about humanitarian aid,” Walters said. “It’s about Scott Warren and his decision to shield two illegal aliens from law enforcement.”

In this 2018 photo, Scott Daniel Warren, who is charged with human smuggling walks in to U.S. District Court in Tucson, AZ. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
In this 2018 photo, Scott Daniel Warren, who is charged with human smuggling walks in to U.S. District Court in Tucson, AZ. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Kuykendall asserted that the only way the prosecutor could win the case is to prove that his client “intended to violate the law,” reads the article. “If what you intend is simply to help someone” with resources like shelter, food, and water, it is not a crime, Kuykendall said.

Volunteers Overstep the Boundary

‘No More Deaths’ (also known as ‘No Más Muertes’) has operated in Arizona since 2004—its members peppering the desert with food and supplies for immigrants. This year, however, 15 of its members were sentenced to 15 months of unsupervised probation and were each fined $250 for leaving food on restricted grounds, read the press release.

Tuscon Sentinel reported that the presiding judge, Bernardo Velasco, “felt it was necessary” to caution them of their conduct, saying that it “may be against the law.”

In Warren’s case, the migrants were allegedly ill and hungry. He said he found the two men after returning to “The Barn” from a trip to the grocery store, thereafter splitting a burrito and sports drink with them, reported the Daily Star.

Murder of border agent
A United States Border Patrol vehicle returns from the scene of an overnight shootout where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed northwest of Nogales, Ariz. on Dec. 15, 2010. (Greg Bryan/Arizona Daily Star via AP, File)

According to the report, the Central Americans supposedly stayed there for three days. But the prosecutor—recounting what border agents saw in surveying “The Barn”—said he was seen “gesturing,” perhaps threading a path past a CBP checkpoint.

Walters foreshadowed the need to provide evidence to the jury, and says he will provide the jury with selfies taken from inside “The Barn,” which show the illegal aliens “hanging out” and not in distress.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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