top of page

Two Land Protectors Wrongfully Arrested at Quitobaquito Springs

Updated: May 11, 2021

Support Needed to Release Amber Ortega and Nellie Jo David

Florence, AZ— September 9, 2020 — Today at 11:00 AM, Amber Ortega and Nellie Jo David were arrested while visiting Quitobaquito Springs. The film crew arrived at 9:30 AM to record all events. Within the hour, 6 border patrol vehicles arrived with 10 agents. Another van arrived with what protectors believed to be U.S. Marshalls wearing tan uniforms and blue vests. By about 11:00 AM both Ortega and David were arrested on unidentified charges and taken into custody.

“Initially we thought they would be detained in Ajo,” said Rebecca McGertt, Protect Quitobaquito Springs organizer. “However, they were booked in Florence. We were told around 8:30 PM that they had not yet had bond posted or been sentenced. The CFO stated that it can sometimes take up to a month to see a judge.”

Stuck in a Justice System Not Designed for Us

While waiting outside the Florence Correctional Facilities, Lelani and Raphael of the film crew were informed they could not wait there. This worker had no mask and did not maintain the CDC mandated social distance of 6-feet.

“He said, ‘Hey! Hey! You can’t be here,’” said Lelani, “To which we replied, ‘Where is your mask? You have no mask.’ He told us that we would have to wait at the McDonalds across the way.” At first, McGertt was told that people were soon to be released, and to call and check closer to 8:00 PM. However, upon calling back, she was told that the offices closed at 5:00 PM and would not reopen until 9:00 AM the next morning. Shortly after, the three noticed people walking down from the facility towards the McDonalds and adjacent gas station. “I just spoke with a male around 8:45pm that was released. He said he has been detained for a week,” stated McGertt, “He got his initial appearance on Friday but was just released today. He was simply woken up and told he was being released. He asked if anyone had posted bond, they said no, and kicked him out. He has no phone and no way to call anyone to pick him up as there is no pay phone here.” Around 8:15 PM Raphael said there was a physically disabled male who had an amputated hand. “When he was released, they told him to leave and didn’t give him a phone call.”

Support Needed to get Ortega and David Home

Help get Ortega and David out by calling the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department or reaching out to your representatives on social media. Share the positive impact these two young people have on the community and that they need to be released immediately. You can also support Protect Quitobaquito Springs joining us at the protest tomorrow. We will be meeting at Oregon Pipe National Forest at 5pm tomorrow to then carpool to Quitobaquito Springs. You can also support by sharing this and by sending monetary donations via CashApp at $DEFENDOODHAMJEWED or PayPal at Sapo: Thank you.

For more information, press only:

Rebecca McGertt


10 views0 comments
bottom of page