US Marine Jailed in Mexico May Have Been 'Shakedown' Target

Image: US Marine Jailed in Mexico May Have Been 'Shakedown' Target Andrew Tahmooressi is escorted out of a courthouse in Tijuana on May 28.

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 09:13 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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A U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico since March for bringing guns into the country has a new lawyer who plans to focus on the 7 ½ hours Andrew Tahmooressi was detained before being booked into the jail, Fox News reports.

Lawyer Lamberto Jesus Esquer Dabdoub will address what Tahmooressi believes was a "failed shakedown" at the border, where he waited more than seven hours to be charged with any crime. A news conference is scheduled for June 12 at Esquer’s Tijuana office.

"Andrew felt something was fishy when the military showed up and wanted to arrest him after the customs officials were willing to accompany him back to the U.S.," said Jill Tahmooressi, the soldier’s mother. "Andrew told me he felt there was an implied expectation of a bribe of some sort by the military but nothing was ever directly requested. He was very uncomfortable with their demeanor."

Tahmooressi, 25, has said he accidentally ended up back in Mexico after making a wrong turn when returning from Tijuana. Fox News reports that he called 911 after accidentally crossing back into the country with three legally purchased weapons, asking for help getting back to the United States.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Mexican guards stopped Tahmooressi as he attempted to turn around. He told them he had three guns in the car, but guns are illegal in Mexico, regardless of whether they came into the country by accident.

Tahmooressi served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, according to his mother, who is pleading for his return so he can receive treatment.

The family fired their son’s previous attorney because he allegedly told Tahmooressi to lie about having previously been to Mexico.

The defense will center on "an unarticulated motive for him being held at the border for so long before being transferred to the notorious La Mesa prison, where he immediately faced threats of rape and death," according to Fox News.

The case has received national attention, with at least two dozen members of Congress calling for Tahmooressi’s release. Many have been critical of the Obama administration working for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan over Tahmooressi.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Mexican officials about the case last month, according to Fox News, and it’s being monitored by the U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

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