A member of the No More Deaths humanitarian group was arrested for allegedly harboring unauthorized immigrants hours after it released a report condemning the Border Patrol for destroying water jugs it leaves out for border crossers.
Scott Warren is accused of giving food and water over the course of three days to two people who crossed the border illegally and arrived at a building from where the group renders aid to people in distress.
Last Wednesday, Border Patrol agents were conducting surveillance on a building near Ajo known as “the barn,” when they saw Warren exiting his car and entering the building, according to court documents. Agents then saw him and two people who matched the description of two lost migrants talking outside the building before going back in.
Border Patrol agents did what they call a “knock and talk,” and identified the two people as Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, who had crossed into Arizona illegally, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court.
The pair told agents they had researched online the best ways to cross the border illegally and got an address for “the Barn,” which was identified online as a place where they could get food and water. The men coordinated a ride with a person in a white van, who took them to a Chevron station, where they used the WiFi to figure out where to go, the agents said in the complaint.
Warren met the men outside "the barn" and gave them food, water, beds and clean clothes, the complaint says.
Warren was released on his own recognizance the following day. He was not available for an interview Monday under the advice of his lawyer, according to a spokeswoman from No More Deaths. The Star has a call out to his attorney.
The arrest happened in the desert west of Tucson, one of the most deadly corridors for illegal border crossers, said Lee Sandusky, a spokeswoman and volunteer with No More Deaths.
In 2017, of the 58 human remains recovered along the border, about half were found there she said, adding it's “an area with an extremely high need for humanitarian aid.”
The group said they view the timing of the arrest as suspicious since it happened hours after No More Deaths released a video that had gone viral that showed border agents vandalizing humanitarian aid. The report also condemned agents for threatening to arrest humanitarian aid providers.
The Border Patrol directed calls to the U.S. Attorney’s office, whose spokesman said he couldn't provide additional information since it's an ongoing case.
This was not the first time Warren has gotten in legal trouble in connection with his humanitarian efforts. On June 1, 2017, he was arrested on suspicion of two misdemeanor counts of using a motor vehicle in a wilderness area and for leaving or discarding “personal property” at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Warren told Federal Wildlife Officers he didn’t know he was driving into the wilderness.