U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi jailed in Mexico after wrong turnBaltimore Post-Examiner

U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi jailed in Mexico after wrong turn

U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi has been jailed in Mexico on weapons trafficking charges since March 31, He mistakenly made a wrong turn in his vehicle and crossed into Mexico.

Unable to turn around before driving through customs, he was detained and subsequently jailed. Sgt. Tahmooressi was in California at the time, having travelled from Florida to seek treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) after completing two tours in Afghanistan. He was carrying three legally purchased (in the U.S.) firearms at the time of his arrest, as all his possessions were in his truck while he searched for housing during his  treatment.

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi (Photo via Public Domain)

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi
(Photo via Public Domain)

This situation needs immediate attention — from us as individual citizens and from the White House as our seat of power. In addition to the recent discovery that at least a few VA hospitals are a frightening quagmire of delayed treatment and allegedly falsified wait times for treatment, now we have a U.S. Marine in trouble, and we need to speak up clearly and strenuously on his behalf.

The irony here is of an obvious flavor: Mexicans flow through our borders illegally, but we have one American Marine in trouble in Mexico after two tours of active duty, and his distraught mother, working all available channels, is virtually helpless to affect his release.

I happened to hear his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, interviewed on the radio this week and she is at her wit’s end. Tahmooressi attempted to escape from his state-run Mexican jail after his arrest, and has since been transferred to a Mexican federal penitentiary in Tecate, Mexico. Remember, this is someone with PTSD.

He is undoubtedly nervous and not at all trusting that Mexican authorities will handle his case quickly and with a favorable outcome. He needs treatment for his PTSD now, and his escape attempt illuminates this fact (although I am not suffering from PTSD and I can’t say that I wouldn’t attempt an escape from a Mexican prison).

He was willing to load all his worldly belongings into a truck and drive to California for treatment — it is very doubtful that he would jeopardize this opportunity by taking a weapons-laden jaunt into Mexico. This was clearly a terrible accident.

Some people question how he could have mistakenly driven across the most marked and fortified  border crossing with Mexico, considering the number of exit points available to get off the only legal entry into Mexico from San Ysidro, CA. (Photo via Wiki Commons)

Some question how he could have mistakenly driven across the most marked and fortified border crossing with Mexico, considering the number of exit points available to get off the only legal entry into Mexico from San Ysidro, CA.
(Photo via Wiki Commons)

A petition drive has been launched to trigger President Obama’s intervention on Sgt. Tahmooressi’s behalf. In order for the White House to look into the case, 100,000 signatures must be collected by May 31st. In addition, Senator Marco Rubio stated this week that while he understands that Mexico wants to handle the case through their judicial system, he believes it is time for President Obama to intervene. “I think he should call on the authorities over there, including the president of the country Peña Nieto, and make this a priority,” he said, adding that America should “use our diplomatic influence to ensure that they know that this matters to us.”

Semper Fi is shorthand for the the official Marine motto, Semper Fidelis, which means “Always Faithful,” a dedication to corps, country, and fellow Marines.

We need to adopt our own Semper Fi as citizens and act quickly through our signatures, prayers, and attention to help this deserving Marine return safely to the country he has twice risked his life for. We have power — let’s wake it up from its slumber and use it.

About the author

Deirdre Reilly

Deirdre Reilly has written one humor book, and authored a syndicated family life column for Gatehouse Media for 13 years. She has won a Massachusetts Press Award for humor, her op-eds have been published in the Boston Herald and The Hartford Courant, and she has had short fiction published in literary journals. Deirdre was raised in Columbia, Md., and now lives outside Boston, Ma. She enjoys outdoor pursuits, and is obsessed with the care and happiness of a retired carriage horse named Nello that she bought for a few hundred dollars on a menopausal whim. Contact the author.

One Comment

  1. Usedtobe Fishfry says:

    A couple of points here. First, the photo illustrating the article shows the San Ysidro crossing as it was in 2011, taken from Wikipedia. However, the crossing’s been completely rebuilt and reconfigured since then, and looks totally different than this misleading photo.

    Secondly, Tahmooressi is not in jail for making a wrong turn. He’s in jail for bringing three guns into Mexico, which is illegal. His guns were illegal in California too, since he carried them loaded in his front seat. Had California authorities gotten to him first, they’d have arrested him if not worse. Southern California cops have no tolerance for drivers with loaded guns.

    His case is being handled by the US government exactly like that of any other American who gets in legal trouble in a foreign country. The State dept insures that he’s getting his human rights, and then they allow the legal process to play out. The US government can not interfere until legal judgment has been rendered. There are hundreds if not thousands of precedents, and I’d expect professional journalists to understand this.

    Tahmooressi’s actual legal case is very difficult. He’d recently been in Tijuana several times; in fact his “PTSD treatment” seems to have involved repeatedly partying in Tijuana’s famous hooker zone. On the day of his arrest he walked into Mexico, spent the day eating and drinking in Tijuana, rented a hotel room, then walked back to the US to get his truck. He then drove back into Mexico through the Nothing to Declare lane at Mexican customs, where his truck was inspected and he was arrested for possession of three weapons and 457 rounds of ammo.

    Jill Tahmooressi may be at her wits end. We all have compassion for her. But in her many interviews with Greta Van Susteren of FOX News, Jill said that as a professional nurse she noted clear signs of PTSD in her son. Tahmooressi even pulled a .45 pistol on his sister’s boyfriend at a picnic last summer. Nevertheless, Jill Tahmooressi lent her son her truck and sent him on a cross-country trip with his three loaded guns. Why did she do that, after having seen signs of PTSD in him and after having witnessed him pulling a gun on someone?

    Do you think it’s possible that both Jill and Andrew Tahmooressi made many bad choices on the way to Andrew’s arrest at the Mexican border? Don’t they have VA hospitals in Florida? Would you want a PTSD-addled combat vet driving around your neighborhood with three loaded guns and 457 rounds of ammo in the front seat?

    How about a little common sense here? Sgt. Tahmooressi is in a bad spot and faces 21 years in prison. Reporting untruths and distortions about this case serves no one, least of all Sgt. Tahmooressi.

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