Author Topic: Why Is a US Marine in a Mexican Jail? The Case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi  (Read 715 times)

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gt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a US marine and Afghanistan war veteran, has be held in a Mexican prison for more than a month. He said he accidentally crossed the border on March 31 with three personal firearms. Mexican authorities jailed him on weapons charges. The case has drawn attention from lawmakers in the US, as Tahmooressi’s fate hangs in the balance.

Here’s a closer look at Tahmooressi’s case:

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is a 25-year-old US Marine reservist. He served four years in the Marines and did two tours in Afghanistan before finishing active duty in 2012. He said he was honorably discharged in November 2012, according to the Associated Press.

His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, who is from Weston, Fla., said he had recently moved to San Diego to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why is he in prison?

Tahmooressi is being held at La Mesa State Penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico for allegedly trying to bring weapons over the US-Mexico border. He faces federal weapons charges, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune:

The charges include possession of two firearms meant for exclusive use of the Mexican military; bail is not permitted. If convicted, he faces six to 21 years in a Mexican prison, said his Tijuana attorneys.

Tahmooressi had three weapons, all registered in the US, including a .45 caliber pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, and an AR-15 rifle.

Tahmooressi attempted to escape after he was taken into custody, the AP reported:
After he was jailed, Tahmooressi tried to escape by climbing over a gate and heading up onto a roof, and then onto another one. He gave up when a guard opened fire, but the incident earned him the nickname "Spider-Man."

He later grabbed a light bulb and stabbed himself in the neck. He was taken to the hospital and given stitches.

Why was he going to Mexico?

Tahmooressi said he was on his way to meet friends for dinner in San Ysidro on March 31 when he accidently ended up at a border crossing point. He had been in San Diego for two weeks after leaving Dayton Beach, Fla. and driving across the country with everything he owned, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

"I was going to call them after I drove off the exit, but I never got off the exit, I blew right past it," he said. "I wasn't paying attention, thinking I had way farther to go. I ended up in Mexico with no way to turn around."

Tahmooressi said he never intended to leave the country and mistakenly ended up at the border crossing point. San Ysidro is a border town in San Diego County that is a few miles north of Mexico.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune:

At Tijuana's El Chaparral Port of Entry, he tried to stop at the automatic crossing gates, but was waved through, and then guided to an inspection area. "They say, 'What have you got back there?' I said, 'A whole lot of stuff and three guns.' I said, 'I didn't even mean to be in Mexico.'"

Mexican authorities found the three guns and Tahmooressi was jailed.

Has something like this happened before?

Yes, there have been several cases of people jailed after accidentally crossing into Mexico. Tahmooressi’s case is not an isolated instance of this, CNN reports:

It is difficult for the U.S. State Department to quantify how many arrests are due to accidental crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, a spokeswoman told CNN, but Andrew Tahmooressi's case is not all that unique.

According to the AP:

In 2008, an active-duty Army soldier was jailed in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, for driving into Mexico with guns, knives and ammunition. Former Army Spc. Richard R. Medina Torres also said he was lost and missed the last U.S. exit. He spent a little over a month in jail before being released.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune:

In 1999, a Camp Pendleton Marine was detained for two weeks in Tijuana after driving into the country with firearms. The Marine claimed he did so by mistake, and a federal judge ordered his release after the Mexican Attorney General asked that all charges be dropped.

According to a State Department warning, dozens of US citizens are arrested each month for “unintentionally violating Mexico’s strict weapons laws.” The warning also says, “claiming not to know about the law will not get you leniency from a police officer or the judicial system.”

Lawyers for Tahmooressi told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Mexico’s federal code allows for the absence of intent to be used as an exception to the penalty, and Tahmooressi did not intend to possess weapons there.

Is the US government doing anything to help?
Paul and Jill Tahmooressi stand outside the Mexican Consulate in Miami, Monday, May 5, 2014, protesting the arrest of their son in Mexico. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Marine veteran who was arrested and jailed in Mexico on weapons charges for allegedly bringing guns across the border, says he never intended to leave the country but missed an exit when heading to meet friends in a border town. He told the newspaper that Mexican authorities found three guns inside the truck he had recently driven across the country to make a new start in San Diego. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)Paul and Jill Tahmooressi outside the Mexican Consulate in Miami on May 5.AP

Several US lawmakers have petitioned for Tahmooressi’s release. US Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican and Marine veteran, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on May 2 asking for assistance in the case.

According to NBC San Diego, Hunter wrote in his letter that “Andrew is neither a criminal nor a weapons trafficker, and his incarceration is an extraordinarily unfortunate occurrence.”

Click here to read Congressman Hunter’s letter to Kerry

The State Department has said it is aware of a US citizen being arrested in Mexico, but do not comment on such cases involving private individuals without their permission, the AP reports.

According to CNN, Hunter also wrote a bipartisan congressional letter to Mexico’s attorney general on May 8:

"Mexico's Attorney General is in a position to deal with Andrew's case and ensure its quick resolution ... it is necessary that the AG intervene and expedite proceedings at the very least. And so far there's been no validation from Mexico that Andrew didn't make a directional mistake at the border."

Since his arrest, Tahmooressi’s parents and supporters have worked to bring attention to the case, even protesting outside the Mexican Consulate in Miami. There is also a Facebook page and petition.

What is next with the case?

According to, there will be a hearing on May 28, where Mexican border officials will give a statement to the judge handling Tahmooressi’s case.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 07:22:15 PM by SPQR »


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For those who are interested Larry Elder will be interviewing Jill Tahmooressi at 4:23 PST

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I don't understand why this admin isn't doing more to get him stateside..

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We should start arresting Mexican Army members who cross our borders.


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Calif. Congressman Urges Action On Marine Veteran Jailed In Mexico

Read more:

California Rep. Duncan Hunter is pressing U.S. officials for swifter and stronger action in the case of a Marine Corps veteran who sits in a Mexican prison charged with illegal weapons possession.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, was arrested March 31 after he was stopped by Mexican officials with three legal firearms — an AR-15, a shotgun and a .45-caliber pistol — in his vehicle.

The ex-Marine — who served two tours in Afghanistan and had recently moved to California from Florida — maintains his innocence and says that he intended to meet friends north of the border when he accidentally drove into Mexico.

Hunter, a Republican who is a veteran himself, sent three letters Monday — two to U.S. officials and one to a Mexican governor.

“I am aware that the Department of Defense provides significant support to the Mexican military, including training, intelligence cooperation and equipment transfers,” reads a letter sent from Hunter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

“In light of the Mexican Government’s incarceration of Andrew, I urge you to immediately consider suspending training and equipment assistance to Mexico until Andrew’s case is resolved.”

The Department of Defense declined to comment to The Daily Caller but said Hagel would be responding to Hunter.

Hunter sent another letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

Earlier this year two Mexican soldiers entered the U.S. through Arizona and drew their weapons on two U.S. Border Patrol agents, Hunter pointed out in the letter. After the situation deescalated, the soldiers were allowed to return to Mexico.

“How many unauthorized incursions by Mexican military and law enforcement authorities have occurred over the last decade?” Hunter asked Johnson in the letter.

“How many of those individuals were armed? How many of those incidents resulted in a standoff or armed confrontation with U.S. authorities, and were any of those individuals detained?”

In a third letter, Hunter beseeched Francisco Arturo Vega de la Madrid, the governor of Baja California, to pardon Tahmooressi. “I urge you to exercise your authority to pardon Andrew and allow him to return home to his family immediately.”

Earlier this month, Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department “utilize the full extent of its resources to guarantee his immediate safety and protection.”

Tahmooressi’s next hearing is scheduled for May 28.

Tahmooressi, who was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2012, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Since his arrest, he has attempted to escape prison and also suffered self-inflicted injuries after stabbing himself in the neck with a broken light bulb.

If convicted, Tahmooressi’s attorneys — who are from Mexico — have said he would face between six and 21 years in prison.

Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill Tahmooressi, has said she is concerned for her son’s safety.

“The first few days when he was in the penitentiary he was not segregated and he’s a U.S. Marine currently under contract,” she told The Blaze. ”He was placed in general population. His life was threatened and I really didn’t think after speaking with him that night that he would survive.”

“If they have him in solitary confinement, then he’s fine,” Hunter told Fox News earlier this month.

“If he’s not in solitary confinement, his life is in danger. I mean, it’s Mexico. I mean, there’s more murders in Mexico than we’ve had deaths in Afghanistan since we’ve been there in 2001 in one year.”

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