Marine Jailed in Mexico: I Think I'll Be Out in a Month

Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:07 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, the former U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico for two months after he says he mistakenly cross the Mexican border with guns in his vehicle, says he is hoping to be freed within another month.

Tahmooressi spoke by telephone in an interview aired Thursday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." Van Susteren has been championing Tahmooressi's cause on her program and even went to Mexico last week in a failed attempt to interview him in prison.

"I hope that it's not going to be much longer," Tahmooressi said, adding that the prison guards have told him they think he will be freed soon.

If necessary, Tahmooressi said, he can stay longer, but told Van Susteren it will be "sad and lonely."

Tahmooressi's troubles began when he made a wrong turn late March 31 and ended up on a highway leading into Mexico with no return lane. He had visited Tijuana during the afternoon, which required him only to walk across the border on foot after parking his pickup truck on the American side. When he left for San Diego that night, he took a road he thought would take him to a friend's house, but instead circled around and led to a Mexican border station.

"I didn’t mean to be in Mexico. It was an accident," Tahmooressi said.

Tahmooressi had previously visited Tijuana, but said he had been drinking and a friend was driving, so he didn't remember the route.

On the night of March 31, he said he realized he had made a mistake and waived to a woman at the border that he wanted to turn around, but she waved him to go forward.

Once across the border, Tahmooressi said he explained the situation to a border guard and pointed out his three guns. He legally owned the guns in the United States, but they were illegal in Mexico.

The guard initially requested an escort to take him back to the United States, but when a Mexican military official was contacted, Tahmooressi said he was treated like a criminal and wasn't allowed to explain his situation.

Tahmooressi said he remained respectful, but was annoyed at the military captain's demeanor.

"I did not mouth off at all," he said.

At that point he called 911, but was told he could not be helped because he was no longer on American soil.

He was taken to a holding cell and eventually to a prison where he was put into a cell with about 15 other inmates.

The prisoners indirectly threatened to kill and rape him, he said, so he used a telephone break to try to escape. That attempt failed, but did get him into a cell by himself where he felt safer.

He was beaten by guards, he said, cursed at, then stripped naked and had his hands and feet cuffed to a bedpost where he was left in standing position.

"I managed to fall asleep with my head on my knee for a little bit," he said.

He eventually was moved to another prison, where he feels safer. Conditions have improved since the American media has been focusing on his case, he said.

His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, talked earlier in the day with Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto." 

She told Cavuto she was unimpressed that Secretary of State John Kerry "raised the issue" of her son when he visited Mexico last week. 

"Those words are so generic and neutral I wouldn't really know how to perceive the meaning behind that," she said.

"I understand that he broke the law in Mexico," Jill Tahmooressi said, but he didn't intend to, and she just wants the U.S. government to help expedite the process so he can be ready for active duty and to get the mental health help he needs.

Tahmooressi is an Afghanistan war veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Florida resident was in California to be treated for his condition.

He faces up to 20 years in prison in Mexico if convicted.

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