Casino Customer Detained by U.S. Border Patrol

Sycuan Casino says this incident could have been avoided if he told the truth

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     A trip to a local casino turned into a nightmare for an El Cajon man after he was arrested and detained by Border Patrol for nearly a week.

    The 26-year-old man who identified himself only as Sebastian described what happened during a trip to Sycuan Casino on February 4.

    Man Mistakenly Detained for 6 Days

    [DGO] Man Mistakenly Detained for 6 Days
    A trip to a local casino turns into a nightmare for an El Cajon man. (Published Friday, Feb. 17, 2012)

    He says security at Sycuan began to question him for identification so he showed them his Matricula Consular, a valid form of government I.D. issued by the Mexican Consulate.

    “They told me they were going to arrest me and call the Border Patrol," Sebastian told NBCSanDiego. "That is when I tried to run when they take me down and handcuff me."

    He said he was arrested and detained by Border Patrol for 6 days, despite having valid I.D. and presenting it to an officer.

    “It was crazy I was scared to never see my family again,” Sebastian said.

    Sycuan spokesperson Adam Day told NBCSanDiego the casino accepts the Matricula card as a form of identification.

    "We don't question," Day said. "It's not our policy to call immigration at all.”

    Still, he says this incident was an exception.

    “He presented at least four if not five identifications," Day said. "Four of them were in someone else’s name so that entire incident was extremely suspicious."

    Lilia Velasquez, an attorney representing Sebastian, said suspicious or not she believes Sycuan was wrong.

    “I’m sure that it's not the only time and it won't be the last time that someone tries to get in a casino with a fake I.D. Don't let them in. But do not threaten them with calling the immigration service,” said Velasquez.

    Border Patrol officials told NBCSanDiego the Matricula Consular card may be a valid I.D. to some institutions, including the Sycuan casino.

    But to them, it is not a document which allows someone to stay in the U.S. legally, the reason why border officials say Sebastian was detained.