The attorney for an ASU instructor facing federal charges for harboring undocumented immigrants says the timing of the arrest is suspicious.
According to the attorney, Scott Warren's arrest came just hours after a video was released by humanitarian group No More Deaths showing Border Patrol agents dumping water jugs left for border crossers.
Because of the charges Warren is facing, he’s been advised not to speak to the media.
But 12 News spoke with his attorney, who said there’s always been a humanitarian understanding, a neutrality between agents and the group. But ever since the videos were released, the group believes its members are now at threat of retaliation and it’s only going to lead to more lives lost in the desert.
Tucson-based attorney Bill Walker represents No More Deaths.
“They did the same things they’ve been doing for years and they have not been charged for it," Walker said. “We haven’t changed our agenda. They have changed their agenda."
Walker said nine hours after the group went public with its report last week group member, ASU instructor Scott Warren was arrested on charges of harboring undocumented immigrants. The arrest happened near Ajo at a location known to provide food and water to immigrants called "the barn."
According to court records, Border Patrol tracked two migrants to that building. After detaining and interviewing the border crossers, they told agents Warren had provided them food, water and clothes for three days, a violation of U.S law, according to the Department of Justice.
“We’ve had that station in Ajo -- it’s been up for years. They know where it is, they survey it all the time," Walker said. "For them to engage in this just hours after the report is nothing more than a reprimand for criticizing the Border Patrol. They do not like being criticized."
Walker said he intends to prove the arrest is in violation of a long neutrality agreement between the group and Border Patrol "and the result is going to be that there will be more deaths in the desert,” said Walker.
12 News reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office task about the timing of the arrest. The office declined to comment.