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Two border volunteers arrested

The Associated Press

TUCSON, Arizona- Two members of a border humanitarian group were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol after an agent found three illegal immigrants in their vehicle.

The two No More Deaths volunteers were arrested around noon on Saturday, said Gustavo Soto, a spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.

They were being held on charges of transporting illegal immigrants, said border officials.

Soto said an agent pulled over a car marked as "Samaritan patrol" and found three illegal immigrants with Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz, both 23.

Bill Walker, the volunteers' attorney, said they came across nine illegal immigrants in need of medical assistance and were able to treat six of them, but the other three needed more help.

One man was suffering from diarrhea and another had been vomiting for three days, Walker said.

"Our medical team called a registered nurse about the men's conditions and she verified that they needed to be seen by a doctor," Walker said. He said the volunteers were taking the men to Southside Presbyterian Church, where a doctor was to meet them.

But they were pulled over before they got to the church.

Soto said a Border Patrol medical team examined the immigrants and found that they were OK.

"This is unbelievable," Walker said. "It is arrogant and absolutely dangerous because we save hundreds of lives. We do what Border Patrol can't because they are undermanned.

"They are discouraging people from saving lives and helping others."

Border Patrol officials have said it is legal to give aid to immigrants who are distressed, but transporting them is illegal.


On the Net:

No More Deaths: http://www.nomoredeaths.org/

Border Patrol: http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/home.xml

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