Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Wright, who is currently spearheading multiple cases against members of the humanitarian group, assured Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco that the evidence would clearly show that on the afternoon of August 13, 2017, four No More Deaths volunteers — Natalie Renee Hoffman, Oona Meagan Holcomb, Madeline Abbe Huse, and Zaachila I. Orozco-McCormick — broke the law when they drove onto the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, just outside the tiny town of Ajo, Arizona, and left humanitarian aid supplies for migrants passing through the region.
Christopher Dupont, an attorney for the defendants, argued that by devoting their time to putting out food and water in one of the world’s deadliest regions for migrants traveling on foot — where a minimum of 3,000 people have died making their way north since 2000 — the No More Deaths volunteers were acting on deeply held principles to confront a “crisis of the soul” that has turned much of southern Arizona’s most remote federal lands into a “veritable cemetery.”
There are currently two sets of separated but related cases stemming from a Trump administration crackdown on humanitarian aid volunteers in southern Arizona. The most serious charges have been leveled against Scott Warren, a 36-year-old academic, whom the government charged with three felony counts of harboring and conspiracy, for providing food, water, and a place to sleep to two undocumented men over three days last January. Warren faces 20 years in prison if convicted and sentenced to consecutive terms.