Is the case against a traumatized Marine imprisoned in Mexico being built upon a lie? That’s the claim this Memorial Day by the loved ones of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a young Marine reservist who was undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in California.
Family members say that on March 31, Sgt. Tahmooressi, 25, made one wrong turn and accidentally crossed the border into Mexico in his car, loaded with all of his personal belongings—including three registered firearms. He had moved to San Diego to receive treatment for PTSD and still had most of his possessions in his vehicle because he was looking for a permanent place to live. According to his mother Jill, he was driving near the border in Tijuana and ended up in the customs lane, missing the place where he could have turned around before ending up in Mexico. Reports indicate Sgt. Tahmooressi may have missed the turn due to construction taking place on the border, and the sign marking the U-turn back to the U.S. was not as prominent as it had been before construction.
Jill Tahmooressi, who has been in contact with her son, told The Blaze last week that she fears his case is “doomed” since the head of Tijuana’s customs office spoke out against him. Alejandro Gonzalez claims Sgt. Tahmooressi drove across the border on purpose to receive medical attention and meet friends—something his mother calls a “flat-out lie”. She said, “There’s no reason why he would ever go down to Mexico for medical care, especially when they don’t even know how to treat foreign combat PTSD. They never send their military to fight foreign wars.” She said her son can still receive health care under her insurance (since he’s under 26), and through the VA.
Sgt. Tahmooressi was initially placed in La Mesa prison in Tijuana, which was the site of 2 uprisings in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of 21 inmates. His hands and feet were chained to a bed for a number of weeks; he was threatened with rape and death. He was recently transferred to El Hongo prison—considered less dangerous than La Mesa—but still houses some dangerous characters. His mother says his condition has improved since being transferred since he’s no longer shackled and is in a private cell, away from the general prison population. He is waiting for his first court appearance on Wednesday when the Mexican border guards who arrested him will testify.
The plight of this soldier is coming out as the scandals with VA hospitals around the country are coming to light, leaving anyone paying attention to wonder, “Is this the best we can do for our veterans?” Some lawmakers, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) have rallied around Sgt. Tahmooressi, calling on the State Department and the Marine Corps to get involved. Rep. Hunter, who is also a Marine veteran, pleaded his case to Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos in which he gave details of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s heroic actions while serving in Afghanistan. He also lambasted Secretary of State John Kerry last week on The Glenn Beck Program saying he didn’t believe Kerry “gives a damn”. Since that interview, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Kerry did “mention” the plight of the Marine reservist to Mexican authorities, but the details of that conversation have not been made public.
Meanwhile, Jill Tahmooressi remains hopeful that justice will be done for her son. She said, “I’m still very faithful and know God will help us out.”
**If you would like to sign the petition in support of Sgt. Tahmooressi, you may do so here.