BREA (CBSLA.com/AP) — Supporters of a U.S. Marine reservist who has been in a Mexican prison since April after he traveled across the border while legally in possession of firearms staged a rally Friday calling for his immediately release.
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, is being held at El Hongo prison in Tecate following his arrest on March 31, when he was stopped by police in Mexico and arrested for possessing three firearms which were fully legal in Texas and were registered to his name, according to CBS News.
Members of We The People Rising and other supporters of Tahmooressi rallied at the Brea office of Rep. Ed Royce to urge the lawmaker to take immediate action to advocate for the release of the imprisoned Marine.
“We are staging this rally at Congressman Royce’s office because he is the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee,” said Tustin resident Betty Robinson. “We are calling upon top officials to intervene on both sides of the border.”
In a letter dated June 5 addressed to Mexico’s Foreign Secretary, Dr. Jose Antonio Meade Kuribeña, Royce (R-Fullerton) expressed “deep concern” over the arrest and urged Tahmooressi’s case “be resolved expeditiously.”
Royce also cited the Marine’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as further cause to expedite his release.
A YouTube audio recording of Tahmooressi’s 911 call was posted in May apparently showing Tahmooressi believed he missed a turnaround point before inadvertently crossing the U.S.- Mexico border.
If Tahmooressi is convicted, he faces six to 21 years in a Mexican prison, his lawyers said, adding that alternatively the case could be dropped if the Mexican attorney general’s office in Mexico City requests dismissal.
Tahmooressi served four years in the Marines, including two tours in Afghanistan. He says he was honorably discharged in November 2012, the Associated Press reported.
After he was jailed, Tahmooressi tried to escape by climbing over a gate and heading up onto a roof, and then onto another one. He gave up when a guard opened fire, but the incident earned him the nickname “Spider-Man.”
He later grabbed a light bulb and stabbed himself in the neck. He was taken to the hospital and given stitches.
He said he longs for his family and friends and has been receiving visits from an English-speaking Christian chaplain.
“I put my faith in God that He will take care of me,” he said. “It was just a big mistake, and I hope that the people here will realize that and that the judge will realize that.”
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