As US Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi remains stuck in a Mexican jail on gun charges without US Government intervention, US Border Patrol agents continue to detain and release armed Mexican law enforcement personnel straying across the border. Tahmooressi’s plight has gained the attention of US Representative Duncan Hunter (R. – Cal.), who is raising the decibel level to call out President Barack Obama and his administration for lack of action to seek the safe return of the Afghanistan veteran. The Marine’s supporters are creating a groundswell of sentiment for his release on Twitter under hashtags BringBackOurMarine and MarineHeldinMexico. Thus far, the US Government has been content to let the Mexican court system handle the matter with Tahmooressi potentially facing 6 to 21 years in Mexican prison for having three lawfully registered guns at a border checkpoint the Marine said he never even wished to cross.
The US Border Patrol discovered the most recent incursion by armed Mexican law enforcement personnel on June 5 as Chihuahua officers strayed across the border in search of a wounded man, who was found by Border Patrol agents on a farm close to the Mexican border. The four Mexican policemen were arrested, but unlike Tahmooressi, they were released two days later. The most recent border incursion by Mexican personnel follows a pattern uncovered by Rep. Duncan in his questioning of the US Department of Homeland Security. In a written statement to the Congressman, the Department acknowledged that over the past decade the agency is aware of at least 500 Mexican military and police personnel crossing the border illegally, often resulting in tense confrontations with US Border Patrol Agents. None of the Mexican nationals spend their days mired in the US legal system or stuck in jail on gun charges, as is the case for US Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.
The 25-year-old Marine reservist states that he did not even wish to cross into Mexico on March 31. He says he missed his turn to visit friends in border town San Ysidro, California and ended up at the nearby checkpoint. He had his pick-up loaded with his possessions, which included three lawful firearms. Tahmooressi told the Mexican border officials he was carrying the guns, a shot gun, a 45 caliber pistol and an AR – 15 rifle. Tahmooressi was detained and his Mexican legal ordeal began.
Jill Tahmooressi, the veteran’s mother, has initiated a petition drive to request White House action, which has garnered over 100,000 signatures. The Marine’s plight has reached the attention of Secretary of State John Kerry, who has initiated calls to Mexican officials, but the matter does not appear to have received urgent attention by his agency.
Tahmooressi has complained of inhumane treatment by Mexican officials, who were angered by an attempted escape. His family is now onto its third legal team in an effort to secure the Marine’s release. US Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi now has the attention of many concerned supporters on the US side of the border as he remains stuck in Mexican jail on gun charges, while he and his family hope that US government intervention will create pressure for his release.
By William Costolo