25-year-old Andrew Tahmooressi has been in Tijuana jail for more than a month now. And his mother, who lives in Florida, is doing everything she possibly can to free him. From calling congressmen, to staging protests, to using social media, she wants her boy back in the U.S. Jill Tahmooressi stands in front of the Mexican Consolate in Miami pleading for her son’s release from La Mesa Penitentiary in Tijuana. She’s urging others across the country to do the same in front of their Mexican consolates through a Facebook page “Free USMC Sgt. Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail” – a page that has close to 5,000 likes.
And Monday, more support in the form of another congressman Scott Peters, calling for Secretary of State John Kerry to engage the Mexican government to make sure the former Marine is treated fairly. Congressman Duncan Hunter sent a similar letter to Kerry last week.
“We’re talking to Secretary Kerry’s office, Mexican authorities, everything we can to try to get him out of jail because his life is in danger, in those bad Mexican jails,” stated Hunter.
All because of a wrong turn – Tahmooressi, who did two tours in Afghanistan, was driving cross-country on his to the Veteran’s Hospital in La Jolla to possibly get treatment for PTSD, when he says he missed his exit into San Ysidro and ended up in line to cross the border into Mexico. The problem? He had three guns in the car. They were legally owned, but because of Mexico’s strict gun laws, he was arrested and jailed. His mother says he was chained to his bed and stabbed. Reportedly, he tried to escape by hopping a wall and used a broken light bulb to cut his own neck. Many are worried about his mental health.
“This is not the first time Mexican authorities have put a young Marine in jail; we have to get to the bottom of this and stop it from happening in the future.”
In 1999, Duncan Hunter Sr. and Brian Bilbray pressured the Mexican government to release a Marine who was being held for bringing a weapon over the border. He was freed and the charges were dropped.
“What I’d like to do is take some of the Marines at this golf tournament, go across the border and get him out of jail.. it’s not that easy, as we know.”
Tahmooressi’s trial is set for May 28th. If he is found guilty of the gun charges, he’ll face 6 to 21 years in prison. It’s a race against the clock.