Border Patrol agents successfully detained 96 year-old former Arizona Governor Raul H. Castro for over a half an hour last month after his pacemaker triggered a radiation sensor, according to azcentral.com.
Castro said he was travelling to Tucson, Arizona on June 12 to celebrate his birthday when a sensor at a checkpoint 25 miles from the Mexican border picked something up from his pacemaker. Border Patrol agents sent Castro to another inspection area where, according to Castro, they questioned him in the scorching summer heat for around 45 minutes before determining he wasn’t a serious threat. Castro had undergone a procedure on his heart and pacemaker the previous day and, he told MSNBC, he believes that’s why he set off the sensor.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed the incident, but said in a statement that Castro was only detained for precisely 10 minutes.
“As required by policy, agents must identify and resolve all sources of radiation, regardless of the circumstances,” the agency said.
Anne Doan, a friend of Castro’s who was with him that day, was so upset with the treatment of the former governor that she criticized the agents involved in a letter to Nogales International, Castro’s hometown newspaper.
“I was helpless and overwhelmed by the incident. I felt the agents had no regard for the governor’s background or age or physical condition,” she wrote. “I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat, especially because they knew he had just had a treatment at Tucson Heart Hospital the day before.”
Doan also wrote that Castro was forced to wait outside in a tent despite pleas that, due to the extreme heat and his frail condition, he be allowed to wait inside an air conditioned car.
The Mexican-born Castro governed Arizona from 1975-1977, and also served as a U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Argentina and El Salvador in his career.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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