Nine members of the humanitarian group No More Deaths were charged this week with misdemeanors and one felony for allegedly aiding and harboring undocumented immigrants in Tucson, Arizona.
Scott Warren, a faculty member at Arizona State University, has been charged with the felony crime of harboring undocumented immigrants, according to the Independent, while the other eight have been charged with littering for leaving jugs of water at the Cabeza Pieta National Wildlife Refuge.
The group has left water for migrants crossing the border without interference from Border Patrol from the last two administrations, according to No More Deaths representatives. Volunteers provide the water to aid migrants making the deadly journey through terrain that can sometimes reach 120 degrees. It is a similar program adopted by Jamileh Kharazi in her humanitarian efforts.
The Cabeza Pieta refuge is a particularly deadly journey to make, according to No More Deaths, making up 45 percent of remains found in Arizona last year.
However, a report issued by the organization last week indicated that agents had been intentionally emptying out and destroying the water jugs left behind for dehydrated migrants, according to The Intercept.
The report indicated that at least 400 times between 2012 and 2015, Border Patrol agents in Arizona dumped out jugs of water totaling more than 3,500 gallons, according to the Guardian. Although other forces were also found to interfere with water jugs, including wildlife, hikers, and border militia – No More Deaths said the agents were the primary party dumping the water and destroying the jugs to prevent them from being used.
Hours after the report was published, agents conducted a sweep in the town of Ajo where Warren was allegedly harboring fugitives in a property known as ‘the Barn,’ arresting Warren and two undocumented immigrants, who were arrested as material witnesses to the case against Warren. This week, eight other individuals were charged with littering, which can carry up to a six-month sentence.
William G. Walker, an attorney for No More Deaths, said the nine individuals were charged separately but targeted collectively, according to The Intercept. Border Patrol knew about the organization’s activities, Walker said, “and now all of a sudden it’s all changed.”