February 4, 2020

Border Patrol agents apprehend 32-year-old James Paul Markowitz in his vehicle in Bracketville, Texas, on suspicion of involvement in an illegal smuggling incident. While it is unclear whether he is at all involved in the incident, Markowitz did have small amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine in his car, which he swallowed in an effort to avoid detection.

During processing at the Bracketville Border Patrol station, Markowitz “began exhibiting signs of distress.” CBP’s notification to Congress read that an ambulance was called at 6:00 PM. A CBS News records review reveals that “the ambulance wasn’t actually called for until 6:26 PM.” Markowitz died of a drug overdose.

Markowitz’s stepfather has been unable to get more information from CBP about the circumstances of his death.

“In a March 2020 letter to the Department of Homeland Security,” CBS reported, “then-Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro and Immigration Task Force Chairwoman Linda S├ínchez demanded information about Markowitz’s death and wrote they were “troubled twenty-eight days after the death of James Paul Markowitz without any further details or relevant information to his case.”

Source: Graham Kates, “Family of U.S. man who died after Border Patrol arrest says government has been tight lipped for a year” (CBS News, February 4, 2021) <https://www.cbsnews.com/news/james-markowitz-border-patrol-arrest-government-silence/>.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: Under OPR investigation