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U.S. Marine Held In Mexican Prison Scheduled For Court Wednesday

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By Ashley Fantz and Nick Valencia

(CNN) — A U.S. Marine and Afghanistan war veteran held in a Mexico prison for nearly two months will make an appearance in court Wednesday, his mother told CNN’s “New Day.”

Jill Tahmooressi said her son, Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, accidentally crossed into Mexico with three personal firearms — all bought legally in the U.S.

The 25-year-old had intended to drive to meet friends in San Ysidro, California, on March 31, and was moving from Florida to California in the hope of getting a job and continuing treatment he had just begun for post traumatic stress related to his two combat tours.

With all his possessions in his truck, Tahmooressi drove across the border. When he realized his mistake, his mother said, he dialed 911 and asked the operator to help him. No help came, Jill Tahmooressi said. Her son first encountered Mexican customs agents, she said, and he believed they understood that he’d made an innocent error. They seemed to be getting an escort car to help him, she said.

But the officers with the Mexican military interfered, she told “New Day,” and her son was arrested.

“He is relieved that he’ll be able to go before the judge and explain precisely how he made that accidental wrong turn and ended up in the dilemma that he’s in right now,” she said.

Andrew Tahmooressi was initially held at La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico, facing a weapons charge, according to the Mexican attorney general’s office.

In early May, the office told CNN that the Marine’s scheduled court date was Wednesday.

Twenty-one days ago he was moved from La Mesa to El Tongo prison in the state of Baja California, Jill Tahmooressi said.

He is being held is isolation — away from the general population of the lock-up — and is constantly watched by a guard, she said.

The Marine has tried to appeal to U.S. lawmakers.

“I accidentally drove into Mexico with 3 guns … a rifle (AR-15), a .45 cal pistol and a 12 gauge pump shotgun with no intensions (sic) on being in Mexico or being involved in any criminal activities,” Andrew Tahmooressi wrote in a statement of innocence to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

“I have rights to all 3 weapons,” he wrote. “They are under my name. … Please help me.”

Hunter is among several lawmakers who have petitioned for Tahmooressi’s release.

“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,” Hunter said in a statement this month.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke with Mexican authorities last week about the case.

“We are working on determining whether or not certain evidence that has been presented is meeting the standard that’s necessary to be able to hold that young Marine, and we’re trying to find out exactly what the fact pattern is, but we are working on that,” he told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day”

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1 Comment

  • Guest

    Politicians – Release this Marine! Assuming all the facts are accurate (as reported), this Marine made a simple error. Do your job(s).

    Semper Fi