On March 31 a US Marine was imprisoned in Mexico for allegedly bringing guns across the border. According to Fox News, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, a veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, missed an exit while driving to meet friends in a border town, San Ysidro.
Sgt. Tahmooressi’s wrong turn lead him into a border crossing point in Tijuana, where he was found in possession of guns that are legal in the United States, but illegal in Mexico, reports Fox News.
In an interview from prison, Tahmooressi told U-T San Diego reporters that he had no intention to cross the border.
“I never meant to be in Mexico…I had no bad intentions, I had no intentions of smuggling my weapons, I had no intention of selling them or anything of the sort,” says Tahmooressi.
U-T San Diego reporters were able to speak to Tahmooressi’s Tijuana attorney, who told them his client is being charged with possession of two firearms meant for exclusive use by the Mexican military. There is no bail for these charges, and he faces six to 21 years in a Mexican prison.
Earlier in March, Tahmooressi had been diagnosed with PTSD. His mother told Fox News that her son was going to the border town in California to visit a fellow Marine who had also recently been diagnosed with PTSD. She says that she is worried the Mexican prison is not equipped to handle a veteran in his condition, and has been tirelessly working to bring her son back home.
“He has been utterly abandoned for 30 days and we have heard of no due process being put forth on his case from the Mexican judicial system” Tahmooressi’s mother said to Fox.
Tahmooressi has now been in jail for over 53 days, most of which he has spent with all four limbs restrained after attempting to escape.
A WhiteHouse.gov petition has been issued demanding the jailed Marine’s release. Over 31,000 people have signed the petition, but 69,000 more are needed by May 31 to warrant a response from the President. The petition can be found here.
Tahmooressi’s mother told reporters that her son is hopeful, and encourages people to sign her son’s Whitehouse.gov petition.
“I put my faith in god that he will take care of me…it was just a big mistake, and I hope that the people here will realize that and that the judge will realize that,” says a homesick Tahmooressi to U-T San Diego reporters.