FULLERTON (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County Congressman said Thursday he is “disappointed” but “hopeful” that a U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico could return home soon despite a court ruling.
KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports Rep. Ed Royce is trying to fast-track the release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who took a wrong turn last month and entered into Mexican territory with three registered firearms.
Tahmooressi was in court Wednesday for his first hearing, where his attorney presented a defense of “no criminal intent” in a court appearance that lasted for over seven hours, according to nonprofit group Serving California.
The 25-year-old Afghanistan war veteran had just moved to San Diego from Florida and had all his belongings in his truck, including his pistol, shotgun and rifle, when he missed the last U.S. exit on April 1, forcing him to cross the border, The Associated Press reported.
He was arrested by Mexican federal authorities on weapons charges and is being held at the La Mesa Penitentiary in Tijuana.
Despite pleas from several state and federal lawmakers calling for his release, Tahmooressi potentially faces up to 21 years in a Mexican prison if the case isn’t dropped, attorneys said.
Royce, who also serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on Twitter saying he was “extremely disappointed” that Tahmooressi was ordered to remain behind bars following yesterday’s court hearing.
— Ed Royce (@RepEdRoyce) July 10, 2014
However, Royce said Tahmooressi’s attorney was successfully able to establish several technical violations to the due process law in Mexico at the time of his arrest.
“Now the request is to considering filing a motion of dismissal with the judge,” Royce said.
Following the hearing, Serving California released the following statement on behalf of Tahmooressi and his mother Jill: “Sgt. Tahmooressi continues to be in good spirits and remains strong in his faith in God to help him through this difficult situation. We are grateful for the continued prayers of the American people for Sgt. Tahmooressi and his family and are hopeful he will be able to walk on American soil very soon.”
Another court hearing in Tijuana is scheduled for August 4.