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Enforcement and Removal
01/18/2012

ICE detainee passes away after being rushed to local hospital

LAS VEGAS — A Mexican national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away Tuesday evening at Desert Springs Hospital just hours after he was turned over to ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).

Miguel Sarabia-Ortega, 36, was originally detained Tuesday morning by LVMPD officers on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine pipes. After a background check revealed Sarabia-Ortega was the subject of an ICE lookout, the LVMPD alerted ICE. At approximately 12:30 p.m., ICE HSI took the legal permanent resident into custody and transported him to the agency's local office to be interviewed and processed.

While at the ICE office, Sarabia became highly agitated, yelling and attempting to remove his handcuffs. At approximately 4:30 p.m., ICE personnel placed Sarabia in a van to transfer him to an overnight detention facility. Minutes later, ICE officers observed that Sarabia had become unresponsive. He was rushed by ambulance to Desert Springs Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been informed. The Clark County Medical Examiner has notified Sarabia's next of kin and ICE contacted the Mexican consulate. The LVMPD will conduct the investigation into Sarabia's death, which is standard procedure when a death occurs within Clark County's jurisdiction.