U.S. citizen arrested by Border Patrol dies in custody


(CNN) – A 32-year-old U.S. citizen arrested by Border Patrol agents died in custody in Texas on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The man was identified as James Paul Markowitz, according to the statement released Wednesday night.

The statement says Markowitz was arrested around 3 pm Tuesday as a suspect in a “foreigner smuggling incident” and taken to the Brackettville, Texas station for prosecution. “It began to show signs of anguish,” and EMT-certified agents gave first aid and called local Emergency Medical Services as their condition worsened, according to the statement.

Emergency services arrived 40 minutes later and took Markowitz to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:37 pm local time.

The agency, which depends on the Department of Homeland Security, previously faced scrutiny about the management of people in custody, particularly after the death of minors in custody.

The death of two Guatemalan minors at the end of 2018 caused hearings in Congress and new procedures of the Department of Homeland Security and CBP. Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died of sepsis, a bacterial infection, at an El Paso hospital in December 2018, two days after she and her father had been arrested. Weeks later, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, died of sepsis complicated flu while in CBP custody.

The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security did not find “misconduct” by immigration officials.

At the end of last year, a video of a sick Guatemalan child who died in government custody also appeared. The boy, identified by a Customs and Border Protection official as Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, 16, died on May 20 at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, days after crossing into the United States and detained by immigration officials, CBP said.



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