Marine jailed in Mexico denies charges

Marine jailed in Mexico denies charges

Mon May 5, 2014 3:33AM GMT

A former US Marine jailed in Mexico has denied charges that he brought guns across the border.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, who is accused of bringing weapons across the border, claimed he never intended to leave the United States but he missed an exit when heading to meet friends in a border town.

He said he was headed to dinner in San Ysidro on March 31 when he mistakenly wound up at a border crossing point in Tijuana, U-T San Diego reported Sunday.

“I was going to call them after I drove off the exit, but I never got off the exit, I blew right past it,” he told the newspaper in an interview from jail. “I wasn’t paying attention, thinking I had way farther to go. I ended up in Mexico with no way to turn around.”

Mexican authorities found three guns inside his truck and detained him. He is now being held in Tijuana’s La Mesa Penitentiary without bail, according to the Associated Press.

On Friday, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to secure Tahmooressi’s release.

“Andrew is neither a criminal nor a weapons trafficker, and his incarceration is an extraordinarily unfortunate occurrence,” wrote Hunter, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War. “I am confident this situation can be resolved quickly through the continued attention and support of the U.S. State Department, but I remain concerned for Andrew’s safety and well-being as a prisoner in Mexico.”

According to U-T San Diego, a similar case occurred in 2008, when an active-duty Army soldier was jailed in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, for driving into Mexico with guns, knives and ammunition.

A Marine also was detained in Tijuana in 1999 for two weeks after driving into Mexico with guns, the newspaper said.

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