U.S. Citizen Dies In Border Patrol Custody In South Texas

James Paul Markowitz started showing signs of distress while being held as a smuggling suspect, officials said.

A 32-year-old U.S. citizen died in custody of Border Patrol agents in South Texas, the government agency announced Wednesday. 

The man, identified as James Paul Markowitz, was arrested Tuesday after being identified as a suspect in a “smuggling case” involving undocumented immigrants, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement to HuffPost.

Border Patrol agents assigned to a station in Brackettville, Texas, arrested Markowitz at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the statement. Markowitz started showing signs of distress during processing at the station and EMT-certified agents administered first aid, the agency said. He was transferred to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 9:37 p.m.

In a statement to BuzzFeed, which first reported on the death, CBP said Markowitz exhibited signs of distress around 6 p.m. Emergency services arrived on the scene at 6:40 p.m. to transport the patient according to the agency.

The statement provided to HuffPost did not include further details surrounding Markowitz’s health or death. 

In a media release on Wednesday, CBP also said agents assigned to the Brackettville station arrested a U.S. citizen who was driving a Dodge Charger after stopping the vehicle on U.S. Highway 277.

It’s unclear if the death is related to that arrest, though the federal agency said one of the people arrested was a 32-year-old U.S. citizen. The press release did not include any details on why agents pulled over the Dodge Charger.

According to the press release, the agents arrested a second U.S. citizen, identified as a 25-year-old, who was driving a Jeep Renegade with five other occupants in the vehicle. The 25-year-old suspect failed to yield to the agents, prompting agents to disable the vehicle with a controlled tire deflation device near the city of Del Rio, which is close to the U.S. Mexico border.

CBP agents arrested all six occupants of the car after they fled on foot.

The statement did not address whether the incidents were related, though Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said they both involved “smugglers.”

“The swift response of our agents and law enforcement partners helped put a stop to an extremely dangerous situation,” Ortiz said in a statement. “Smugglers continue to endanger the lives of those in our communities without hesitation. Thanks to the excellent communication and cooperation between our agents and law enforcement partners, the pursuit ended safely with no injuries to the community or law enforcement.”

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