Two Acquitted of Smuggling In Salvadorans in Sanctuary Case

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Associated Press

A Lutheran minister and a journalist accused of smuggling two pregnant Salvadorans into the United States were acquitted today by a federal jury, and one defendant called the verdict a victory for the sanctuary movement.

The U.S. District Court jury, which was given the case Monday afternoon, returned innocent verdicts on all counts after 4 1/2 hours of deliberations.

The Rev. Glen Remer-Thamert, 44, had been charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts each of transporting, harboring and inducing Ines Campos-Anzora and Cecelia Elias-Alegria to enter the United States.


One Conspiracy Count

Demetria Martinez, 28, had been charged with one count of conspiracy to violate immigration laws and two counts each of transporting and inducing the women to enter the United States. Their trial began July 13.

Outside court, Remer-Thamert called the verdict a victory for the sanctuary movement, a grass-roots effort that has been going on since 1980 to aid refugees from Central America.

Martinez, who writes for the Albuquerque Journal and National Catholic Reporter, said she hoped the “victory will encourage other reporters to get out and find out what the government has to hide in its role in the situation in El Salvador.”

Evidence Claimed

U.S. Atty. William Lutz said he believed there was good evidence that the Salvadoran women entered the country illegally and were transported illegally.

“But the question was one of intent and the jury disagreed with our position on what the intent was,” he said.

Alice Hector, attorney for Remer-Thamert, portrayed her client as a religious man who believed he could legally help two refugees under then-Gov. Toney Anaya’s proclamation declaring New Mexico a sanctuary state.


But Lutz said the case concerned the smuggling of illegal aliens to put their babies up for adoption.