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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Apprehended Man Dies After Found Unresponsive in Laredo I-35 Checkpoint Detention Cell

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At 10:40 p.m., one agent attempted to lift the driver up by his arms, while another agent used a knife to cut the jacket. Approximately 21 seconds elapsed from when agents first opened the detention cell door to when they successfully removed the jacket from around the driver’s neck. A supervisory agent assessed the driver who remained unresponsive. USCBP Image for illustration purposes
At 10:40 p.m., one agent attempted to lift the driver up by his arms, while another agent used a knife to cut the jacket. Approximately 21 seconds elapsed from when agents first opened the detention cell door to when they successfully removed the jacket from around the driver’s neck. A supervisory agent assessed the driver who remained unresponsive. USCBP Image for illustration purposes
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On February 17, 2024, at approximately 6:45 p.m., a red tractor trailer semi-truck arrived at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 35 (I-35) approximately 25 miles north of Laredo, Texas. A USBP K-9 alerted to the semi-truck as it arrived at the primary inspection area. At approximately 6:46 p.m., Border Patrol agents searched the vehicle and discovered seven undocumented noncitizens hidden inside the cab.

A review of available body worn camera video by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility revealed that at 6:47 p.m., agents arrested the driver of the semi-truck who was later identified as a 43-year-old U.S. citizen. 

 The male driver and undocumented noncitizens were relocated to the checkpoint’s detention area at 6:49 p.m. A Border Patrol agent searched the driver at 6:52 p.m. During the interaction, the agent removed the draw string from the driver’s pants and jacket explaining they were doing so for his own safety.  The agent then provided the man his jacket and placed him in detention cell 103 at 6:57 p.m., where he was the sole occupant. 

 The driver then asked agents if he could place a phone call to his mother. Agents advised the driver that they could possibly allow him to make a phone call later, but it would need to be monitored. At 6:59 p.m., agents asked the driver if he had any medical conditions and he told agents he did not.

At 7:03 p.m. agents inventoried the driver’s personal property in the doorway to detention cell in his presence.  

Agents escorted the driver to the processing area of the checkpoint at 7:21 p.m., electronically captured his fingerprints, and returned him to the detention cell. The driver requested to speak to his mother via cell phone at 7:41 p.m. A Supervisory Border Patrol agent escorted him to allow him to place a monitored phone call in the processing area. The driver requested agents call his mother instead, and at 7:46 p.m., he was returned to the detention cell. 

The driver placed a monitored call to his mother at 8:29p.mand agents subsequently returned him to his cell. 

At 10:39 p.m., two agents approached the cell to serve the driver with administrative paperwork. The first agent opened the door to the detention cell and observed the driver was unresponsive and suspended inches off the ground by his jacket, which was tied around a privacy partition and wrapped around his neck. The second agent yelled for assistance.

At 10:40 p.m., one agent attempted to lift the driver up by his arms, while another agent used a knife to cut the jacket. Approximately 21 seconds elapsed from when agents first opened the detention cell door to when they successfully removed the jacket from around the driver’s neck. A supervisory agent assessed the driver who remained unresponsive.

Border Patrol agents requested emergency medical services at 10:41 p.m., and the supervisory Border Patrol agent initiated CPR. Agents applied an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the driver at 10:43 p.m. Between 10:43 p.m. and 11:01 p.m., the AED analyzed the driver’s heart rhythm eight times, advised no shock after each analysis, and instructed agents to continue CPR. During this time, a Border Patrol agent emergency medical technician applied an airway assistance device and other agents provided oxygen to the driver.

Angel Care Ambulance EMS personnel arrived on scene and assumed medical care of the driver at 11:01 p.m. At 11:04 p.m., Border Patrol agents assisted Angel Care Ambulance EMS personnel with loading the driver onto a gurney, while the EMS personnel continued to administer CPR. At approximately 11:09 p.m., EMS personnel transported the driver via ambulance to Doctors Hospital of Laredo in Laredo, Texas. Two agents responded to the hospital along with ambulance EMS. 

At 11:43 p.m., EMS personnel and Border Patrol agents arrived at the hospital. At approximately 11:45 p.m., EMS personnel turned over medical care of the driver to hospital personnel. At 11:52 p.m., medical personnel at the hospital declared him deceased. The Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the driver’s remains.

Footage related to this incident was captured on multiple body worn cameras, however, the video recording system at the Border Patrol checkpoint was not fully functioning at the time of the incident. OPR special agents interviewed the undocumented noncitizens that were apprehended from the semitruck. The individuals stated that they never spoke to the man and that after they were apprehended, the man was placed in a separate cell.

Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office personnel conducted an autopsy on February 19, 2023. 
 
The Webb County Sheriff’s Office, Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP’s OPR are investigating this incident. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified.

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