Mexico orders release of U.S. Marine held on weapons charges
(CNN) –A court has ordered the release of U.S. Marine reservist Andrew Paul Tahmooressi, held in a Mexican prison since March on a weapons charge, a Mexican federal government press release said Friday.
Tahmooressi was arrested March 31 at a Tijuana, Mexico, checkpoint after Mexican customs agents found three firearms in his truck, including a .45-caliber pistol, a pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.
Mexico’s strict federal gun laws prohibit anyone illegally bringing weapons into the country.
Tahmooressi family spokesman Jonathan Franks said Friday night in a statement: “The family is overjoyed. They are asking for privacy at this time. I don’t know that Andrew will be there for that.
“We expect him to be privately handed off and deported at some point. The handoff will be well outside public view. We don’t want people to overwhelm him. He is still at the prison in Tecate, Mexico right now.”
Since his arrest, Tahmooressi has maintained that he took a wrong turn on the California side of the border into Tijuana. His mother told CNN in May that Tahmooressi, who served with the Marines in Afghanistan, had moved to the San Ysidro, California, area to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He has unresolved, or untreated PTSD, and he cannot get the cognitive therapy behavior that veterans of America receive … in a Mexico jail, where there is no such thing,” his mother told CNN earlier this year.
In an interview with CNN, Tahmooressi described a suicide attempt with a shattered light bulb after being punched, slapped, cursed at, deprived of water and food, and shackled to a bed with a four-point restraint in a Mexican prison.
“I had one hand above my head, not both, just one,” he told CNN. “I was laying on a bed. … When I got the opportunity, I decided to stab myself in the neck with a light bulb … I was paranoid. I had been abused. I was thinking they were going to come and abuse me more and torture me and get information about my family from me. So I said, ‘I’m not going to allow them to do that.’ ”
Tahmooressi said conditions improved after media coverage of his plight.
Mexican prison authorities have denied the abuse allegations.