US Marine, Andrew Tahmooressi, Held in Mexican Prison
Andrew Tahmooressi, a 26-year-old US Marine veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, has sparked much talk in the media with his imprisonment in Mexico. Tahmooressi has been held since he accidentally drove across the Mexican border at San Ysidro, California in late March.
He crossed the border with three firearms in his pickup truck and has been put in custody for gun charges. Bringing weapons into Mexico violates the country’s federal law even if they are legally purchased. In fact, possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the army is a federal crime in Mexico regardless of whether visitors declare it or not upon entering the country. Simply not knowing the laws does not exempt Tahmooressi from prosecution which is why the judge has ordered to keep him imprisoned. Despite these strict laws, the US Marine doesn’t believe that he should be punished for his mistake and that the extent of this punishment isn’t necessary.
US Marine Crosses Border
Tahmooressi recently went to San Diego to receive treatment for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While in San Diego, the veteran claims he accidentally took a wrong turn and crossed the border because he was disoriented from poorly lit street signs. He denies the allegation that he crossed the border with intent of trafficking arms, “I wouldn’t go about trying to sell my guns to criminals. For one, I’m not a criminal. And I don’t like any criminal activity. I wouldn’t have gone about selling my guns to get money. I would have sold my motorcycle. I would have sold my truck. Besides that, I had plenty of money in my bank account that I had saved up from the Marine Corps. And I’m not a dumb man, to be selling my guns that have serial numbers registered to me.”
Tahmooressi hopes that the judge will hear his statement and realize that his approach of the U.S – Mexico border was unintentional. He’s trying to be optimistic about his release and explains to CNN, “I’m not as down as I was. My relationship with the guards has turned more into a friendship, so I don’t feel as alone, I guess. Once the media started covering it…things did start changing… I’m just trying to keep my cool and stay relaxed.”
Part of the reason for Tahmooressi’s lengthy stay in the Mexican prison has to do with his delayed hearing caused by Mexico’s unpredictable legal system and the veteran’s trouble with settling on a lawyer. Since April 28 of this year (2014), the US Marine has had three defense attorneys. Two of the previous attorneys failed to submit evidence to the court. Mexican customs officials who detained Tahmooressi at the border will also testify at the next hearing scheduled for August 4th.
An Attempt to Escape
Tahmooressi recounts to Fox News his attempt to escape from the confines of the Mexican prison. He tried to flee nu scaling a cage that was about 9 ft. tall. Once he got onto the cage, he ran to a nearby rooftop and started to make his way towards the front gate. Before he could make his next move, however, a Mexican official began shooting at him. The US Marine new it was over at that point, “That’s when I got on the ground with my belly to the ground and my hands behind my head and gave up.” Now, during these tough times, Tahmooressi tries to look to God for strength and support to get through this unfortunate experience.
Support for Tahmooressi
Since his arrest, many appeals have passed through to the U.S. State Department and Mexican officials. In fact, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) have sent a letter to Escobedo, imploring officials to take the circumstances of the case into consideration, “We believe the evidence supports Andrew’s claim that he mistakenly entered into Mexico. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is a 911 call Andrew made at the border checkpoint, where he stated he was unaware of his location.”
Jill and Paul Tahmooressi, Andrew’s parents, have also appealed to the top U.S. diplomat in Mexico and sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador, E. Anthony Wayne, urging him to get a Mexican federal judge to expedite her son’s case, “If any consideration can be made to expedite the reviews before the federal judge so that he will be closer to probable freedom, those actions would be much appreciated.” Despite the appeals, however, Tahmooressi’s case will still have to go through the Mexican judicial system at a normal pace.
Much of Tahmooressi’s friends and family are saddened by the fact that they have to spend so much time away from him, even after his tours due to his felony arrest in Mexico. They hope that people will keep praying for Andrew’s release and understand the plight of this US Marine.
Alexandra Zuccaro is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A in English. She a strong interest in journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the field.