Border patrol agents arrested Sellz on July 9, 2005, for transporting three immigrants needing medical attention from Arivaca to Tucson. Sellz and Daniel Strauss were charged with transporting migrants and conspiring to transport migrants. Both charges are felonies under U.S. federal law, and if convicted they would have faced up to 15 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.
Despite Sellz's lawyer's attempts to argue that the aid workers were not guilty of smuggling, U.S. Magistrate Bernando P. Velasco refused to dismiss the case. The human rights group, "No More Deaths," persuaded Judge Raner C. Collins to overrule Velasco and drop all charges against Sellz and Strauss, and on September 1, 2006, all charges were dismissed.
Sellz and Strauss were awarded the Oscar Romero Award for human rights on April 22, 2007, for their work with "No More Deaths." The award is presented periodically to organizations or individuals who display their courage and integrity in defense of human rights.
Hundreds of individuals die crossing the desert into the United States each year. Sellz's story has helped bring attention to the human rights battle by gaining attention of Amnesty International and thousands of other human rights activists around the nation.
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