Attorney Feels 'Stonewalled' in Freeing Marine From Mexican Jail

Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:38 AM

By Lisa Degnen

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An attorney for the U.S. Marine being held in a notorious Mexican jail says he feels "stonewalled" by the authorities holding his client.

Lawyer Alejandro Osuna told Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday that Mexican authorities are stalling his chances of getting Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi released from La Mesa State Prison in Tijuana.

The 25-year-old Marine is being held on gun charges. Tahmooressi was arrested March 31 after he claims he made a wrong turn at a crossing that wasn't clearly marked. Military police seized him after they said he tried to drive through the customs spot without stopping and inspectors found three legally purchased and registered firearms in his truck.

There is an evidentiary hearing May 28, and attorney Osuna told Van Susteren he intends to find "the truth about what really happened" at that border. Reports say there is unlikely to be a decision at that time.

Osuna said the charges against his client are false, and he has subpoenaed Mexican customs officials for surveillance video of the episode. He hasn't received it.

"In fact, we have been getting a little bit stonewalled by the customs administrators," he said.

Life inside the dangerous Tijuana jail has been a challenge for the tough Marine, his attorney said. First, he was put in an isolated cell. And then he had to be sedated after he deliberately hurt himself with a lightbulb.

Osuna said he hoped to soon have Tahmooressi moved to the safer El Hongo Federal Penitentiary while he awaits the hearing.

Tahmooressi's mother told that her reservist son recently got  an "order to muster" letter from the Marine Corps telling him to report to the 4th Civil Affairs Group in Hialeah, Florida, on June 14. Jill Tahmooressi showed a letter dated May 9 from by Sgt. Maj. M.E. Sprague that read: "You are among the elite citizens of our nation who, if needed, are ready to answer the call to defend our freedom ... Once a Marine, always a Marine."

Failure to report could result in a dishonorable discharge and could affect his veterans  benefits. But a Marine spokesman told Fox that officials are aware of the situation, and they are not expecting him to report on time.

Supporters of Tahmooressi's are also hoping to get the White House involved. A petition drive that needs 100,000 signatures by May 31 for President Barack Obama to automatically look into the case, so far has about 30,000.

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