/ Modified jun 7, 2019 1:24 p.m.

Jury begins deliberations in border humanitarian aid worker trial

Federal prosecutors sought to make the case about the entire group, No More Deaths.

Federal courthouse The Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse, 405 W. Congress Street in Tucson.
Nick O'Gara/AZPM

A Tucson jury began deliberations Friday in the felony trial of a humanitarian aid worker accused of harboring immigrants along the Arizona border.

Federal prosecutors told the jury that Scott Warren "gets to further the goals of the organization. To thwart Border Patrol at every possible turn." It’s the first time the U.S. government sought to make this case about the entire group, No More Deaths.

Defense attorneys told the jury again that Warren never intended to break the law and that the United States failed to prove he ever had. Deliberations are set to continue Friday afternoon following a mid-day break.

Both sides wrapped up their arguments in Tucson Thursday.

Scott Warren view larger VIEW LARGER Scott Warren outside of Tucson's federal courthouse on June 3, 2019.
Nancy Montoya/AZPM

The United States painted Scott Warren as a high-level member of No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid group. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Walters said he was being paid to coordinate volunteer efforts for the group and was in charge of affairs at the so-called Barn, an aid station in Ajo where he was arrested in 2017.

Warren defended himself on the stand for the second day. Prosecutors challenged his version of events that January day.

"You had to know the jig was up," Walters said.

"Jig?" asked Warren.

"Whatever was going on at the Barn," Walters said. He accused the two undocumented migrants Warren is accused of harboring, Kristian Perez and Jose Sacaria, of hiding from Border Patrol agents when the federal agents arrived. He also accused Warren of not telling the agents the two were in need of medical assistance.

"No, I did not," Warren said, adding that once the agents took him into custody, he didn't speak with them.

A juror later filed a question with Judge Rainer Collins, asking Warren if he was asked by the agents whether anyone was in the Barn. Warren responded he was not asked.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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