Prosecutors in Mexico Say Jailed U.S. Marine is Lying
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office says U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who is being held in a Mexican prison for taking guns across the border, is not telling the truth.
Tahmooressi says he was abused by the Mexican authorities who arrested him. He says it was so bad, he tried to take his own life by stabbing himself in the neck. “I was paranoid,” said Tahmooressi. “I had been abused. I was thinking they were going to come and abuse me more and torture me and get information about my family from me. So I said, I ‘m not going to allow them to do that.”
In a statement released Friday, the Mexican Attorney General’s office denied Tahmooressi’s accusations. “The Attorney General’s Office reiterates its commitment to the observance of human rights and respect for due process of all those arrested, and rejects any assertion of mistreatment of Mr. Tahmooressi as baseless,” the statement read.
On March 31, 2014 Tahmooressi says he parked his truck in a lot on the American side of the U.S. border with Mexico and walked into Tijuana, Mexico. “I walked into Mexico with a backpack with extra clothes and hygiene supplies, passport, wallet, and I decide to go hang out in Mexico for some good Mexican food, inexpensive place to stay and to hang out,” said Tahmooressi.
He checked into a hotel and later walked back across the border and returned to his truck. He says he was headed back to San Diego, but took a wrong turn and ended up entering Tijuana, Mexico through the Tijuana-San Ysidro entry point. He was stopped by Mexican customs agents. They found three loaded guns and extra ammunition in his truck. In Mexico, it is illegal for anyone other than Mexican Military to possess guns. Tahmooressi was arrested.
“I’m an innocent man and that it was just a big mistake and that I had no intention of bringing weapons into Mexico or committing any crime at all,” Tahmooressi said.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office isn’t buying it. ”As a result of its investigation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has presented the judge with information provided by U.S. authorities indicating that Mr. Tahmooressi had entered through the same border crossing at which he was detained with the aforementioned weapons on three prior occasions. This information stands in contrast with his original statement in which he claimed it was the first time he had crossed at the location and had done so by mistake.”
Tahmooressi admits he initially lied to the Mexican authorities about how many times he had been to Tijuana, but says he was acting on bad advice from his attorney. He has since fired that lawyer and hired a new one. Prosecutors say it doesn’t matter. “Ignorance of the law, error or misunderstandings about the consequences of breaking the law, do not exempt an individual from responsibility,” the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said in Friday’s statement.
Tahmooressi’s next hearing has not yet been scheduled. He remains in prison in Tecate, Mexico where he says he is being treated well, thanks to the media coverage his case has received. “No abuses. Everything’s been good ever since news coverage,” said Tahmooressi.