Andrew Tahmooressi, 25
Marine reservist, Andrew Tahmooressi became lost in the dark as he traveled to meet a friend. He ended up at the Mexican border where Mexican agents refused to let him turn around. He had three legal guns on him at the time. For over 30 days, he has been held and later shackled in a Mexican jail.
His mother Jill said she was jolted awake by her son’s phone call on April 1. “‘Mom, I got lost. I made a wrong turn, and I ended up at a Mexican border,'” said Jill as she related what Andrew said to her. “‘I’m telling you this in case anything happens to me. All the Mexican officials are surrounding my truck now. I’ll call you back.'”
According to Jill, the Mexican authorities would not allow her son to turn around after he made the wrong turn when he got lost and ended up past the border.
Twelve hours later, Andrew called again, but this time as a prisoner. According to the 25-year-old, he had made a wrong turn trying to meet a friend near San Diego. Jill said everything her son owned was in the back of his truck, “including his U.S., legal purchased firearms.”
He told his mother he was in the worst part of the jail and was with hit men who threatened to rape and kill him. At that point, he attempted an escape. The Mexican authorities are planning to put him in a more dangerous, maximum security prison in the desert.
According to Jill, 10 days before her son was arrested, he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She said he was in Southern California seeking treatment for his condition when he got lost and made a wrong turn. “One wrong turn, he comes out of a blind curve, and there he is in the Mexican Customs lane,” said Jill.
“When he was in Afghanistan, he was a brave, committed warrior to the cause, to the American cause, and he was highest level of achievements. He was promoted to sergeant on the field. Now he’s defeated, demoralized, hopeless,” said Jill of her son.
According to prison officials, Andrew unsuccessfully attempted to escape from La Mesa on April 6 by scaling a wall topped with coiled barbed wire. Now he’s shackled.
Congressional leaders, including U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, are pushing for his release.
On Friday, Congressman Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to “secure Andrew’s release,” saying it’s “critical” that the Marine be released as soon as possible.
“Andrew is neither a criminal nor a weapons trafficker, and his incarceration is an extraordinarily unfortunate occurrence,” the letter states.
According to the letter, Tahmooressi has already suffered a knife wound to the neck and is about to be transferred to a maximum security facility about 40 miles outside Tijuana. The congressman also explains how Tahmooressi has served three combat tours in Afghanistan.
His trial is expected to begin on May 28. The trial is said to be a difficult one because there are two federal governments and several law enforcement agencies involved. Also they have strict gun laws.
In the United States, we do not treat Mexicans entering our country with this type of brutality when the tables are turned.
In the meantime, a WhiteHouse.gov petition has been posted to demand his release and a Facebook page — “Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail” — has also been set up to support the soldier.