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Thread: Marine vet to be released from Mexican jail

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Marine vet to be released from Mexican jail

    Marine vet to be released from Mexican jail

    By Sandra Dibble 4:55 P.M.OCT. 31, 2014
    Andrew Tahmooressi during an interview earlier this year. — Alejandro Tamayo/UT

    TIJUANA — A Mexican federal district judge in Tijuana on Fridayordered the immediate release of a U.S. Marine veteran behind bars in Baja California on federal weapons charges.

    Andrew Tahmooressi was on trial for crossing the border with ammunition and three loaded weapon on March 31. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office agreed to cease its prosecution of Tahmooressi and allow him to return to the United States.

    The agreement brings to a close a high-profile case that has resounded far beyond the border. In the United States, it has prompted calls for his release from politicians, veterans groups, conservative talk show hosts. But for months there had been an impasse, as Mexican federal prosecutors insisted that the case be resolved through the courts -- not through diplomatic or political pressure.

    Tahmooressi, 26, claims that he drove into Tijuana by mistake on a Monday night after taking a wrong turn near the Mexican border in San Ysidro. He recently had moved from Florida to San Diego, and says that he was driving out of a parking lot, intending to head north. But instead he drove into the El Chaparral Port of Entry, where Mexican customs inspectors examined his pickup truck and found more 400 rounds of ammunition and three loaded firearms: a 45-caliber pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 5.56mm assault rifle.

    His release from El Hongo State Penitentiary outside Tecate was ordered by Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo of the Sixth Federal District Court in Tijuana. Had Tahmooressi been convicted, he would have faced from seven to 21 years behind bars.
    Even though the U.S. State Department reports that dozens of U.S. citizens are arrested each month for violating Mexico’s gun laws, few if any cases have gotten such wide attention.

    Tahmooressi’s situation initially elicited little public sympathy in Mexico, where there is no constitutional right to bear arms. A headline last May in the Tijuana newsweekly, Zeta read: "He did not enter Mexico in error." But his detention did strike a nerve with some sectors in the United States intent on seeing him released.

    The weapons and ammunition confiscated from Andrew's Tahmooressi's vehicle.

    Portraying Tahmooressi as a U.S. war hero unjustly detained in a foreign country, they invoked his military service — two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines, with an honorable discharge in 2012, and stressed that Tahmooressi needed to return to the United States for treatment. Shortly before his arrest he had been diagnosed with PTSD and started treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in La Jolla.

    “I firmly believe that Sgt. Tahmooressi meant no harm, nor willfully violated Mexican law when he crossed the border,” said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., chair of a House subcommittee that held a hearing last month to call attention to the case.

    Benítez, his Tijuana defense attorney, used a range of tactics to win his release. He initially pressed for dismissal of the case on the grounds that his client’s rights were allegedly violated when he was held at the El Chaparral Port of Entry for hours without the presence of an attorney or a translator.

    But in recent weeks, the attorney focused on Tahmooressi’s PTSD in an attempt to win him a humanitarian release. Key testimony came from a prosecution witness, Dr. Alberto Pinzón Picaseño. The Mexico City psychiatrist interviewed Tahmooressi and concluded that he suffers from a condition that has him feeling in constant danger, recommending treatment “by specialized persons in his country of origin.”

    While Tahmooressi’s case made its way through Mexico’s federal court system, his supporters in the United States sought to apply political pressure on Mexico — and on the Obama administration, as they chastised the U.S. officials for not speaking out publicly and pleading his case directly with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The campaign included a White House petition, a congressional hearing, and a push for a House resolution, the majority of whose backers have been Republican members of Congress, including Duncan Hunter of Alpine, an early and vocal advocate for Tahmooressi's release. National Republican figures speaking out on his behalf include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Rep. Ed Royce of Fullerton, head of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

    Tahmooressi’s case also drew the attention of at least one well-known Democrat, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who visited Tahmooressi last week at El Hongo State Penitentiary. He said Mexican authorities were cooperative and pronounced Tahmooressi in “good spirits.”

    Yet seven months after his detention, there are still unanswered questions in Tahmooressi's story.

    The Tijuana newsweekly, Zeta, was the first to report that on the day of his arrest, Tahmooressi had walked into Mexico from San Ysidro, and rented a room at the Hotel Nelson near the border, paying 309 pesos — about $24. He did not stay overnight, instead walking back across to San Ysidro, retrieving his truck at a parking lot–and driving into Mexico.

    Mexican customs inspectors said they found a pistol in a pocket beneath the driver’s side window, and the other weapons also within reach.

    “What really struck the customs and military personnel was that all the weapons were loaded,” said Alejandro González Guilbot, the Mexican customs administrator at the time. “By his not saying that he was a Marine or an ex-Marine, it’s natural that they found this very strange.”

    After initially claiming that he never before had visited Mexico, he later admitted to having crossed four times prior to his detention, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “I went with my friends a couple of times to Mexico just to hang out.”

    Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill, said that the lawyer initially hired by the family coached her son to lie; the attorney has declined comment while the case is ongoing.

    As proof that he crossed by mistake, supporters point to Tahmooressi’s 911 call from the border, telling an operator that he had had not intended to cross the border.

    Others point to inconsistencies in his account.

    Tahmooressi said in an interview with U-T San Diego that he tried to stop his vehicle before going through the customs gates at the El Chaparral Port of Entry, but a woman standing by the gates waved him through. Yet a Mexican customs surveillance video viewed by the UT-San Diego shows him driving straight through.

    Though U.S. supporters have stressed Tahmooressi’s military service, Mexican authorities have said that Tahmooressi was not acting in any official capacity at the time he crossed the border, and did not identify himself as a Marine.

    “Mr. Tahmooressi entered Mexico as a civilian,” according to the only statement on the case issued by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office. “He was neither in uniform, nor was he on active duty, nor was he driving an official vehicle when he crossed the border.” The attorney general’s office maintained that the case was a neither a diplomatic nor political matter, but “strictly a legal issue which will be resolved by the Mexican federal courts.”

    Tahmooressi might well have been in violation of the law north of the border as well had he been caught driving with weapons that were loaded and not properly stored. California law stipulates that all weapons must be unloaded while being transported, and handguns and assault weapons must be stored in a locked container. Non-concealable firearms such as shotguns and rifles are not required to be in a locked container, but must be unloaded, the law states.
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 10-31-2014 at 08:46 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Right now he is on a private plane with his mother headed for Florida.

    From live coverage on local TV news.

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  4. #4
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    Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail

    7 hours ago · Edited


    God Bless all of you who supported and advocated so strongly for Andrew! More updates to follow.

    Official: Tahmooressi family confirms release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi after 214 days in Mexican Jail and asks for privacy.

    #MarineHeldInMexico #BringBackOurMarine #FreeTahmooressi

    Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi freed from Mexican jail, immediately returns to US after strong diplomatic support

    By William La Jeunesse, Dan Gallo

    Published November 01,

    Now Playing Mexican judge orders immediate release of jailed Marine

    After 214 days in a Mexican prison, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi crossed the US – Mexican border Friday night, boarding a private jet for Florida shortly after 9 p.m., after a strong diplomatic push convinced a judge to release the former Marine on humanitarian grounds.

    His release comes after a lengthy trial and a Congressional hearing in September highly critical of Obama Administration efforts to secure his release and Mexico’s refusal to let him go. Tahmooressi said he made an innocent mistake the evening he crossed into Tijuana with three weapons in his truck on March 31.

    While his defense rested its case several weeks ago, Tahmooressi’s release came only after a strong diplomatic push from former Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ).

    The three officials, along with Tahmooressi’s mother Jill, have spent the last week in Tijuana pressing officials for his release.

    Speaking by phone on his way to board a plane with Tahmooressi, Richardson said the trio, along with talk show host Montel Williams, met with Mexico’s Attorney General and Ambassador to the US, advocating for his liberation.

    Upon release, Mexican officials processed him quickly through immigration, Richardson said.

    “He was happy. He was smiling. He's looking good. His spirits are high,” Richardson told Fox News, adding that Tahmooressi said he wants a steak dinner and stone crabs.

    But Richardson also said Tahmooressi is seeking privacy and still needs to receive treatment for his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, something that wasn’t available in Mexican prison-- a key argument put forth by defense attorney Fernando Benitez. covered Tahmooressi's seven-month ordeal extensively, with numerous reports from the Tijuana court where hearings were held, interviews with the jailed Marine by telephone and several guest opinion columns by military, medical and legal experts critical of his treatment in Mexico.

    Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteran also covered the case extensively, even driving the poorly-marked and confusing route Tahmooressi took the night he was detained and going to the prison where he was held. But other national media outlets largely ignored the plight of Tahmooressi, and the White House was heavily criticized for not doing more to secure his release despite the fact that Tahmooressi served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Benitez said that Tahmooressi was continuing to deteriorate and Mexico didn’t have the expertise or facilities to treat his PTSD, which he suffered after two tours in Afghanistan.

    The defense attorney also alleged that customs agents held Tahmooerssi illegally, denying him access to a translator, lawyer and consular access.

    But after the seven-month ordeal, it was the PTSD argument that ultimately pressured the judge to acquit Tahmooressi.

    “The judicial process of Mexico made the right choice,” Richardson said. “The humanitarian release was justified based on PTSD, something that the Mexican judicial and medical system is not as conscious of as the United States.”

    While his release was granted by the trial judge, Richardson acknowledged it likely would not have happened without political pressure.

    “The totality of diplomacy, the judicial process, the legal strategy and the importance of the American-Mexican relationship resulted in Andrew's release,” Richardson said. "And now we have this great outcome. Andrew's coming home."

    William La Jeunesse joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in March 1998 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

    video at link below
    Last edited by kathyet2; 11-01-2014 at 09:35 AM.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2013
    Andrew Tahmooressi Back on American Soil!

    Rodney Lee ConoverNovember 1, 2014

    Andrew Tahmooressi, the Marine who spent eight months behind bars in Mexico, arrived back in the U.S. Friday night after a Mexican judge ordered his immediate release:

    Here are some photographs captured him taking his first steps back on American soil.

    With mom

    Montel Williams on the far right
    Eric Holder goes to Ferguson to comfort the family of a thug who could have killed an officer if he got the chance yet neither Holder nor Obama could make top level contact with Mexico to try to free an innocent American vet. We know where the priorities are for this administration. How shameless they have been.
    Armed military / police have invaded us from Mexico and threatened our people and we “understand” and take no action against them. Andrew inadvertently enters Mexico, tries to turn back but is not allowed to do so. Yet Obama could not go to bat for Andrew. Mexicans are allowed to make mistakes, but not a white vet.
    — paulwbrown
    Mexicans following the Senate and House poll numbers? Probably. Republican landslide would be harmful to Obama’s disdain for American troops and their personally owned guns.
    — Big Media Bias
    it wouldn’t surprise me if this administration told the Mexican government to hold onto our warrior until the right opportunity! Remember do not let a good crisis go to waste!!! It makes me sick because this whole thing stinks.
    — psadie
    <script type=”text/javascript”async src=”” id=”_nw2e-js”></script>
    <div class=”ndn_embed” data-config-widget-id=”2″ style=”width:425px;height:320px” data-config-type=”VideoPlayer/Single” data-config-tracking-group=”91596″ data-config-playlist-id=”13434″ data-config-video-id=”28086436″ data-config-site-section=”joeforamerica”></div>

    About the Author Rodney Lee Conover

    Rodney Lee Conover is a writer, producer and Senior Editor at

    Last edited by kathyet2; 11-02-2014 at 07:50 AM.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
    WOW: America Reacts To Tahmooressi’s Release
    Posted on November 2, 2014

    After Sgt. Tahmooressi was returned from being jailed in Mexico, Americans showed an outpouring of support for the retired Marine. Check it out…

    Ξ BLACK REPUBLICAN Ξ @blackrepublican
    Thank You @Montel_Williams for helping to bring back Sgt. #AndrewTahmooressi … #BlackTwitter
    11:43 AM - 1 Nov 2014

    Ed Royce @RepEdRoyce
    Our Marine is home! Great to see Sgt. #Tahmooressi on American soil. He's in good spirits. #BringBackOurMarine
    9:22 PM - 31 Oct 2014

    The Washington Times @WashTimes
    #Tahmooressi back on American soil after months in Mexican jail #Marines #USMC #military
    8:54 AM - 1 Nov 2014

    Jeff Rainforth @iResistAll
    Sgt. #Tahmooressi reunited with his mother, Jill @ATahmooressi. Cool sight.
    11:36 PM - 31 Oct 2014

    Barney Franken @BarneyFranken
    Obama's press conference about Bergdahl's release: Obama's press conference about Sgt. #Tahmooressi's release: #tcot
    10:19 PM - 31 Oct 2014

    OneUSMarineRet @MasterGuns1313 Follow Wow, obama hasn't come out and taken credit for Sgt Tahmooressi release yet.. he's getting slow. But believe he will, just wait ..
    6:33 PM - 31 Oct 2014

    KillerBunny Sam J. @PolitiBunny Follow We should mention @BarackObama had NOTHING to do with the release of #Tahmooressi. Don't let Democrats try and campaign on this. #WAARMedia
    6:23 PM - 31 Oct 2014

    Hey way to go "Prezz", so impressed!!!!!
    Last edited by kathyet2; 11-05-2014 at 03:42 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Marine vet formerly jailed in Mexico arrested in Georgia

    By Debbi Baker 9:32 A.M.MARCH 12, 2015 Updated 11:03 A.M.

    FILE - This May 3, 2014, file photo shows Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi left, who is being held at Tijuana's La Mesa Penitentiary. A Mexican judge Friday Oct. 31, 2014 ordered the immediate release of a jailed U.S. Marine veteran who spent eight months behind bars for crossing the border with loaded guns. (AP Photo/UT San Diego, Alejandro Tamayo, File) The Associated Press

    A Marine veteran who spent seven months in a Mexican jail last year and who suffers from what his family says is "a significant mental illness" found himself behind bars again after being arrested in Georgia.

    Andrew Tahmooressi, who police said had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, was taken into custody Wednesday about 8:30 p.m. on charges of reckless driving, passing in a no passing zone, and refusing to take a DUI test, according to Emanuel County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy, Rocky Davis.

    He was held overnight in Emanuel County jail in Swainsboro, GA. and released Thursday morning.

    Family spokesperson Jonathan Franks confirmed the arrest with this series of tweets.

    Andrew Tahmooressi arrested

    The full texts of the posts read as follows.

    "We are aware that Andrew Tahmooressi is under arrest for various traffic related offenses. The family again reminds all he is suffering from a significant mental illness and respectfully requests privacy. We all remain committed to getting him the help he needs.

    We certainly ask for and invite prayers for the Tahmooressi family during this difficult time. Consistent with Andrew's privacy, we will make every effort to be as forthcoming as possible. Please understand however, our primary goal is getting him the help he needs, and ensuring he is not held up to undue public scrutiny as the result of his mental illness."

    Tahmooreesi, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, made international headlines and became a cause célèbre when he was arrested last March in Mexico after he crossed into the country carrying three loaded weapons and ammunition in his truck. The then-25-year-old said he had made a mistake, although his story changed over time.

    He was put on trial but let out of prison Oct. 31 after a national campaign that included a White House petition, and calls for his release from Rep. Duncan Hunter, Senator John McCain and others.

    The U-T reported that Mexican officials deemed he was unfit because he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Franks said that Tahnoorssi appreciated the way he was handled while he was in custody.

    “This incident must be seen in the context of one who continues to struggle with PTSD. We are fully committed to ensuring he gets the help he needs and the family continues to respectfully request privacy,” Franks said.
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 03-12-2015 at 04:11 PM.

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  8. #8
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Dude, you got to be kidding me!

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    He needs to calm down. But, we must accept that the PTSD impacts judgment. We ask our servicemen to go into these awful places and do these terrible things, and then come home like nothing happened. Some can, some can't, and if affects them. We also have to remember that it wasn't that long ago when Americans were free to drink and drive with an open container and the Fifth Amendment entitles you to refuse a breathalyzer test. If Lois Lerner can refuse to answer questions at a Congressional Hearing about the job she's being paid by taxpayers to do under the Fifth Amendment, then American drivers can certainly refuse to take a breathalyzer test or give blood or DNA or anything else that might incriminate them without a warrant and a court order. As to the passing in a no passing zone, well, there's no excuse for that, but I must say, it happens a lot. That all said, this young man needs help and understanding to get through his PTSD. In WWII, they called it "shell-shock", now it's PTSD, whatever they call it, it's the impact of War.
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