Mother: 'Dreamer' contracted MRSA while custody, nearly dies

Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 21:41:08-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The family of a “dreamer” is filing suit, claiming he contracted an aggressive staph infection while in custody.

Back in late June, federal agents took Luis Napoles,45, into custody at his workplace, a local Home Depot.

Napoles, an undocumented immigrant, was brought to the U.S. when he was 5 months old. His mother, Bertha Napoles, says he served nearly 3 years behind bars after a conviction for accessory to robbery and a parole violation, but his family says he had turned his life around in the past decade.

A few weeks ago, his family was summoned to a hospital and told he had contracted MRSA and likely wouldn’t survive the night.

He would, but faces a long recovery.

Amid MRSA outbreaks at prisons across the country the past two decades, safety guidelines have been sent to federal facilities. Napoles’ mother says it’s time those guidelines are strictly followed.

“It’s horrible. I’m furious. What conditions are they being kept in?” said Bertha Napoles.

She says her son was initially placed at another downtown facility for a week before being transferred to the GEO facility on C Street. His family learned of the diagnosis in early September, more than two months after he was taken into custody. 

The incubation period for MRSA is one to ten days. The family filed suit against the GEO Group, a private company contracted to house inmates.

“The company is charging taxpayers a lot of money to hold to house people in a very unsafe facility,” said the family’s attorney, Dan Gilleon.

We reached out to the detention facility and received this statement:

"Due to privacy laws, we're unable to comment on individual medical cases; however there have been no other reported cases of MRSA at the Western Region Detention Facility, which is the only U.S. Marshals facility operated by GEO in California. We would refer any further questions to the U.S. Marshals Service."

Napoles' recovery will take many months. It's unclear how this could impact possible deportation proceedings