A federal judge has found four women guilty of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit as they sought to place food and water in the Arizona desert for migrants, reports the AP. US Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco's ruling Friday marked the first conviction against humanitarian aid volunteers in a decade. The four found guilty of misdemeanors in the recent case were volunteers for No More Deaths, which said in a statement the group had been providing life-saving aid to migrants. The volunteers include Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick.
Hoffman was found guilty of operating a vehicle inside Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering the federally protected area without a permit, and leaving water jugs and cans of beans there in August 2017. The others were found guilty of entering without a permit and leaving behind personal property. Per the Arizona Republic, the women believed that they only faced a minor citation or being banned from the park as a consequence, for which Velasco criticized the group. "No one in charge of No More Deaths ever informed them that their conduct could be prosecuted as a criminal offense nor did any of the Defendants make any independent inquiry into the legality or consequences of their activities."
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