Four volunteers found guilty after leaving food and water in the desert for migrants

PHOENIX (AP) – A federal judge found four women guilty of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit while seeking to place food and water in the Arizona desert for migrants.

Friday's ruling by United States magistrate Bernardo Velasco marked the first conviction against humanitarian aid volunteers in a decade.

The sentence for each charge can range from 0 to 6 months in a federal prison and a fine of up to $ 500. The remaining volunteers facing charges for misdemeanors are scheduled to begin the trial on February 26 and March 4 of this year.

– No more deaths (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019

The 4 humanitarian workers are among the 9. #NMD volunteers facing charges for their efforts to place food and water at the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, a vast and remote area near Ajo, Arizona, where it is known that 155 border crossings have died since 2001 and many more have disappeared.

– No more deaths (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019

The four found guilty of minor offenses in the recent case were volunteers of No More Deaths, which said in a statement that the group had been providing help to save the lives of migrants. Volunteers include Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick.

Hoffman was found guilty of operating a vehicle inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering the federally protected area without a permit, and leaving jugs of water and cans of beans there in August of 2017. The rest were found guilty to enter without permission and leave behind personal property.

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