Jury Acquits Ariz. Religious Activist In Federal Immigration Case.

An Arizona man who said he was compelled by his religious beliefs to offer food, water and shelter to two undocumented Central American men who crossed the border illegally has been found not guilty of harboring migrants.

Scott Warren, a geography teacher in Ajo who works with a group called No More Deaths, which is a ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, was arrested and tried on felony federal charges in January 2018. Border patrol agents raided a structure called "the Barn" about 40 miles north of the border in Arizona. There they found Warren with two men, Kristian Perez-Villanueva, 23, and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, 20, who had crossed the border illegally. After wandering through the desert for two days, the two arrived at the Barn where Warren gave them food and shelter.

A federal jury deadlocked during Warren's first trial, but this time the jury acquitted him entirely. National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the vote to acquit was unanimous, and that the jury deliberated less than three hours.

A few jurors later told reporters they believed the government had failed to make the case that Warren's actions, which he said were humanitarian in nature, were a crime.

"They decided that humanitarian aid is not always a crime the way the government wanted it to be," one of Warren's attorneys, Greg Kuykendall, told NPR. "Instead, they decided that humanitarian aid is virtually never a crime."

Warren was also charged in a separate trial with misdemeanor charges of "abandonment of property" and "operating a motor vehicle in a wilderness area" because he used a truck to leave water and supplies for migrants in the desert.

During that trial, Warren's attorneys...

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