Ex-Marine arrives in US after release from Mexico jail
A former US Marine, jailed in Mexico since March for carrying firearms into the country, was back in the United States on Saturday after a Mexican court ordered his release.
Tijuana: A former US Marine, jailed in Mexico since March for carrying firearms into the country, was back in the United States on Saturday after a Mexican court ordered his release.
Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, 26, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, crossed the border into San Diego overnight, before flying to Florida, US media reported.
His arrival follows pressure from top US officials, who pushed for Tahmooressi's release after he was detained on March 31 while entering Mexico from San Ysidro, California.
Tahmooressi's family has said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and crossed the border into Tijuana inadvertently with several weapons that he had purchased legally in the United States inside his truck.
A statement from Mexico's Council of the Federal Judiciary on Friday said it had ordered the "immediate release" of Tahmooressi, from El Hongo prison in Baja California state, after prosecutors declined to press the case further.
The move, family spokesman Jonathan Franks told CNN Saturday, came after Mexico's top federal attorney recommended withdrawing the charges and that Tahmooressi "be released to seek treatment in the United States."
"A number of factors pointed to the fact that this could not go on much longer without creating a significant diplomatic rip," Franks said.
Tahmooressi's detention garnered broad national attention in the United States, with dozens of politicians and top US officials calling on Mexico to release him.
Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon took to Twitter Friday to say he was "overjoyed" to learn of Tahmooressi's release.
"I have long maintained that he has been held in a Mexican prison for far too long, and needed to be returned to the United States to receive proper treatment for the PTSD that he suffers from as a direct result of his heroic service to our nation," Salmon wrote in a series of tweets.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, where Tahmooressi's family lives, said in a statement she was relieved he was out, and said she too hoped he got immediate attention for his PTSD.
Mexican authorities had previously acknowledged that Tahmooressi suffered from mental health issues stemming from his time in a war zone, and said he had been given medical treatment accordingly.
However, Tahmooressi was kept in isolation in El Hongo prison in the Mexican border town of Tecate, where he was transferred in late May.
Tahmooressi stood accused in Mexico of carrying two firearms used by the military, plus an unlicensed gun and cartridges in his vehicle.