Warren acquitted of harboring immigrants

Scott Warren breathed a visible sigh of relief as he exited the federal courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, on November 20, having received a not guilty verdict in his retrial on two counts of felony harboring. The trial’s conclusion after only two hours of jury deliberation was an end to a prosecution that began when he was arrested along with two undocumented migrants in the Arizona desert in January 2018.

Federal prosecutors asserted that Warren hid the two Central American men, Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, for four days and gave them directions on how to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints and ground patrols once they left the safety of “the Shack,” a resupply shed used by humanitarian groups near Ajo, Arizona.

Warren’s defense—delivered by his attorney, Greg Kuykendall, and in his testimony on the fifth day of the six-day trial—was that he provided humanitarian aid in order to save the lives of migrants and, in doing, so followed guidelines set by No More Deaths, the group with which he was volunteering when he was arrested. A key tenet of the defense argument was that this type of assistance and the manner in which it was administered was well within the law.