The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

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The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Siskiyou_Kid

Jill Tahmooressi, at a news conference in Solana Beach on Tuesday, has lobbied for her son, former Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico on weapons charges. (John Gastaldo/U-T San Diego/Zuma /)


The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico


Although many things about the case against former Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi are murky, one thing is clear:

We should all be so lucky to have such a fiercely devoted mother.

Jill Tahmooressi's deft plucking of American heartstrings has been amplified by the Fox News echo chamber, helping turn her son's story into both a conservative cause celebre and a minor political headache for the Obama administration.

What we know about her 25-year-old son is that he acquitted himself with valor on the field of battle during two tours in Afghanistan, and made some whopping mistakes upon his return, including driving across the border on March 31 with three loaded guns in his truck, a serious violation of Mexican law, for which he is now on trial.
The fact that the Mexican government is getting away with this is mind boggling and extremely frustrating. He fought for our freedom and it's our duty to bring him home. - Stasyi Barth, supporter of Andrew Tahmooressi

Thanks to the ruckus his mother kicked up, he is now receiving the kind of special treatment that his fellow prisoners can only dream about. More power to her.

Tuesday, at a news conference in a tavern half an hour north of San Diego, Jill Tahmooressi dissolved into tears as she described for the umpteenth time a phone conversation with her son on his first night in Tijuana’s La Mesa prison, when Andrew, who was diagnosed in March with post-traumatic stress disorder, told her he would not “last the night.”
lRelated Support for a jailed former Marine



He did survive, of course, and what followed were two escape attempts, including one described as a "ninja-style scaling of a wall topped with coiled barbed wire," and an incident in which he slashed his neck with a broken lightbulb. After that, he was moved to El Hongo prison in Tecate, one of a handful of Mexican prisons accredited by the American Correctional Assn., where he is now living in what his mother describes as "solitary confinement" and what others have called a "private cell."

There, he receives frequent visits from a pastor and is allowed to spend up to two hours a day on the phone. On Monday, after a five-hour hearing in Tijuana's federal courthouse, Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo allowed him to spend 20 minutes with his mother, as families of other defendants in court that day stood outside the building, hoping for glimpses of their loved ones.

After firing his first two attorneys, Tahmooressi seems to have landed in capable hands. His current lawyer, Fernando Benitez, became famous in 2011 after successfully defending former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon against weapons charges. A raid on Rhon’s home that turned up 40 rifles, 48 handguns and 9,000 rounds of ammunition was performed without a legal warrant, Benitez argued, making evidence inadmissible.

He hopes to achieve the same outcome for Tahmooressi. On Tuesday, he indignantly explained that two customs officers violated Tahmooressi’s constitutional  rights by making him wait eight hours before being turned over to federal prosecutors, and by using a flawed search warrant, which was dated three days before the incident. (Customs officers, said Benitez, had a stack of blank warrants, pre-signed and pre-dated by an administrator, a practice he described as “ludicrous.”) On Monday, the pair testified, they were following protocol.

On Tuesday, Benitez announced that he would ask the judge to declare a mistrial. The motion will be filed next week.

If the judge throws the case out on technical grounds, we'll probably never know for sure whether Tahmooressi was telling the truth when he claimed that he crossed the border by accident after making a wrong turn out of a parking lot in San Ysidro.

But if the trial goes on, that question will be very much at issue. To find Tahmooressi guilty, the judge will have to determine that he intended to break the law by bringing military-style weapons and ammunition into Mexico, which has strict anti-gun laws.

In May, sources showed the arrest video to a reporter for Tijuana’s fearless weekly magazine Zeta.

In a story headlined "Ex-Marine did not enter Mexico by mistake," Ines Garcia Ramos reported that around 10:30 p.m. on March 31, as Tahmooressi began to drive into Mexico, border officers who noticed a mattress and other large items in his truck waved him over to an inspection area, where his  weapons were discovered during a search. Contrary to his assertion that he stopped to ask how to return to the U.S., she wrote, he appeared to be driving away from the border. (After his guns were discovered, he called 911, telling an American operator he had crossed the border "by accident ... and they're trying to take my guns from me.")

If he is convicted of illegally possessing guns and ammunition, Tahmooressi faces up to 14 years in prison.

Like many Americans, I hope the judge lets him come home, where he can get into treatment for his PTSD. By the time the case is resolved, Tahmooressi will have probably spent eight months or so in custody, which seems a heavy price to pay for what is either an honest mistake or very poor judgment.

At times, unfortunately, this young man has been his own worst enemy. After he was arrested, for instance, he claimed he had never been to Mexico before. In fact, he had crossed the border several times, including earlier on the day of his arrest, when he walked into Mexico, checked into Tijuana's Hotel Nelson, then checked out and walked back to the U.S. hours later. (This means that he left his three loaded guns and ammo sitting in his Ford F-150 truck in a San Ysidro parking lot for hours.)

Tahmooressi’s plight has inspired passionate feelings, particularly among conservatives who are outraged at what they see as the Obama administration's failure to take action. His mother's desperation has helped whip up those feelings. In May, she told CNN that “the brutality of being … unjustly in a foreign prison is worse than any experience I had with him serving two tours in Afghanistan. He was willing to die for his country as a Marine. Where is his country now when he needs it the most?”

What followed was so much rash talk about renegade rescue raids that she finally posted a note on Facebook asking supporters to chill out. She has since muted her rhetoric. At her news conference, rather than criticize American and Mexican officials, she thanked them for helping her son.
lRelated Support for a jailed former Marine

Yet there are still folks agitating for a rescue. On Tuesday, a supporter named Stasyi Barth, who had arrived in a Yukon SUV festooned with “Free Sgt. Tahmooressi" signs, told Jill Tahmooressi that she knew people “who will stop what they are doing and get him.”

“The fact that the Mexican government is getting away with this is mind-boggling and extremely frustrating,” said Barth, who lives in Murrieta. “He fought for our freedom and it’s our duty to bring him home.”

But the Mexican government is not "getting away" with anything.

"From the moment of his arrest, Mr. Tahmooressi's fundamental rights have been respected, including the rights to due process and personal integrity," the Mexican attorney general's office said in a statement in May.

And Obama administration officials have been closely monitoring the case from the beginning.


Andrew Tahmooressi

“Quite frankly, Mr. Tahmooressi’s case has gotten a tremendous amount of attention from the State Department,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John D. Feeley, the No. 2 official in the department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and former Marine Corps officer. “This is a case we have raised repeatedly and at high levels with the Mexicans. Secretary [John F.] Kerry did it in May. I have raised the case with the Mexican ambassador in Washington, our ambassador in Mexico has raised it with the [Mexican] foreign secretary and we have had excellent cooperation in that we have had access to him on a regular basis.”

But that has not placated those looking to score political points.

Last month, Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe introduced a resolution calling on Mexico to release Tahmooressi. "It is ironic that this administration can deal with the Taliban to secure the release of a POW, but we will not do the same for a Marine imprisoned in Mexico. It is time for the White House to act."

But Tahmooressi is not a prisoner of war, neither is he on active duty.

Since 2008, Congress has appropriated $2.1 billion to help Mexico deepen its commitment to the rule of law. How foolish and hypocritical to demand that Mexico now ignore the very justice system we've encouraged it to create.

Twitter: @robinabcarian

http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-ra-tahmooressi-spin-machine-20140807-column.html#page=2
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Chivis
Administrator
this is a good, and fair article.  Thanks for posting, I don't read LAT so I am happy you did, because I don't know what to think, but at the end of the day, this guy fought a brave battle with valor, and war changes people, thinking and reacting differently.

I hope he somehow wins this battle and get further help for his condition.
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Siskiyou_Kid


I honestly posted this against my better judgement, given other articles that have spurred political nonsense.

I don't know what to think, but I hope Mexico gives him some kind of humanitarian release after the trial.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

TexcocoDeMora
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
What Americans want Mexico to do? Do they want Mexico to let him go just because he is an American? Or they want Mexico to let him go because he is an American Ex-Military man?

I'm sure he made a mistake, but I don't think Mexico should let him go just because. Americans shouldn't even worry about it, Mexico will let him go in no more than a couple of years.

Americans have been arrested going in to Canada with weapons, including American Military or Ex-Military. I'm sure they spend months in jail and paid thousands of dollars in fines.

I also did a little search about what the U.S will do to a Mexican or a Canadian if they were to come across the border with weapons. According to what I found anyone arrested at the border carrying weapons can face several different criminal charges.    

http://narcconoticias.blogspot.com/
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

mofle619
I agree with you Tex.  I feel bad for the guy because of the situation he is in but he shouldn't just be let go because he is American or because his mommy says he is innocent. He should go through the proper criminal trial.  Look up Louis dinatale, he is literally going through the exact same thing but in Canada.   Do you hear fox news asking Americans to boycott canada? Or asking Americans to protest outside the Canadian Consulate? No, because it isn't anti Mexico.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Chivis
Administrator
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by TexcocoDeMora
apples to oranges, "just because he is an American"  man you sure are closed minded.  

your "research" ... would those be Canadians and Mexicans, be soldiers who fought in a war, with valor and coming home changed?

of course not.  


There are humanitarian releases all the time.  Deport him with the stipulation he gets help.  Any dumbass that scales a TJ prison wall, in his underwear,  like a ninja is a little off
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

tuSancho
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
I have been following this matter and I just hope the international spotlight on the case will help Mexican justice to be served.  It appears that regardless of what happened at the border he is now in jail for charges that will have to be proven against a defense, and all of the process is very procedural.  I believe it is often a misunderstanding of the Mexican system... it is not opposite the system in the USA, it is more limited and bureaucratic.  No common law.  However, hopefully the lawyer that got Hank off can't come out a loser in the end.  In the end I believe he will get out by process, for all the world to see how just Mexico's legal system is.  Especially with PRI in power the show will be all over the press when he walks free.  During the time the process takes to run its course everybody behind the scenes, including the US State Department, work together to be on the same page for the inevitable.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

choco
@tuSancho

Or, alternatively, they will just pay the judge off!  
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

tuSancho
Of course.  Pay to play.  But, little by little, the eyes of the world and more Mexicans than ever know more and more about their government because of internet transparency.  And I don't think the Arab Spring will be the last upheaval and transformation, including Mexico.  Twitter and Facebook are pretty powerful tools for communication and organization.  

I think one of the sticking points with the Marine is the severity of the anti-gun law.  Lots of foreigners get arrested and booted out of Mexico, usually after they have been drained of all their $.  This is not a minor crime and does have some unclear details at least as reported so far.  So simply and quietly is no longer in the cards.  Mexico cannot let their patrimony be overrun.  They will most likely find a way to say their laws were violated but the Marine will receive mercy and be deported, sin dinero.  They may also be seeking something in return from the USA, but who knows what.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Chivis
Administrator
good comments tu Sancho...but you are missing the point.  countries have humanitarian releases of people all the time, it is what maintains a compassionate, humanitarian society.  Not one size fit all.  and clearly in Mexico it is a HUGE joke to say "Mexico has a strict gun policy",

no Mexico has a strict policy in selective cases.  If the marine would have slipped authorities 500 dollars to go back around it would have been done.  

all that said, I am not sure if he is an accidental wrong way guy with guns, I know how that construction and easy wrong exiting is, but I am just not sure.  But for my argument IT DOES NOT MATTER.  lets concede for whatever reason, albeit can't think of a good one, he intentionally took the guns.

the guy has been in treatment since his last tour, which is why he had moved to SD, for intensified treatment.  He is "off".  That is how a cousin of mine came back, "off".  It does no country any good to keep him.  serves no purpose.  

The other marine that was released, I actually thought he should not have been.  that was a different case.

this one...I think he should cut a deal, plead guilty to a crime, and agree to go inpatient treatment, agree to no guns.  that is a fair pragmatic  solution.    not because he is American, but because it is the right thing to do.

but Mexico never picks its battles well.
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Nutcase
I agree with Chivis 100% on this. It should be a case by case basis.
JMB
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

JMB
In reply to this post by mofle619
He should have to serve a few years. A guy that off & in mental treatment had no business riding across the US with those weapons.  NONE!!! His "mommy" should have placed the weapons in safekeeping before he left FL.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

El?2012
In reply to this post by Chivis
Well I know I'm gonna get flagged for this but I hear and have a feeling that he was trying to sell those weapons to the cartel. And being American he is well versed on how to work the system to get what you want like doing crazy shit to look crazy. Although I will say whoever got their hands on his AR15 is one lucky SOB!!! That was one nice and EXPENSIVE rig! That thing is 4000 MINIMUM.
Libertad y paz en Michoacán!!
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

El?2012
In reply to this post by JMB
What? You do know that in America we have the right to own and transport our firearms to any state even via airplane?? This isn't communist China. How are firearms safer in the hands of an unqualified mother than in the hands of a combat trained Marine? I hate these liberal "guns are evil and need to be locked in lead cases" crap
Libertad y paz en Michoacán!!
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

EL GUAPO
In reply to this post by tuSancho
What charges have to be proven?

He is charged with "possession of weapons restricted to exclusive use of the military". He was in possession of an AR-15 or M-8, a .45 cal. Model 1911 pistol and a 12 ga. Benelli shotgun. He was also charged with not having the proper permit for the shotgun.

So again, it would seem to any logical, rational thinking individual that being in possession of said weapons pretty much makes it an open and shut case.

Oh,and has anyone noticed that the 457 rounds of ammunition for these weapons and the extra 30 round clips are never mentioned in any of the Faux News articles?

Ya'll take a look at this article and tell me something ain't right with his story. And particularly pay attention to the weapons he had in his possession, weapons that he left unsecured in his pickup in a public lot in San Ysidro while he went to party in TJ. Hell, if California had caught him, he would be locked up facing felony charges there.

Judicial Process vs. Media Spin - Mexico Trucker Online
Contributing journalist to SiriusXM Road Dog Channel #106 and the award winning "The Lockridge Report", Member of TWNA, owner of Mexico Trucker Online,
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

EL GUAPO
In reply to this post by JMB
His lawyer has already stated that the time he has spent incarcerated has improved his PTSD, a claim of course that mommy disputes.

And nobody is mentioning what his mommy let slip to Greta in one of her interviews about sonny boy pulling a weapon he kept in the waistband of his pants on a family member in their home in Florida. Police were called but no report was made nor was anyone arrested.

Seems like mommy's been pulling his ass out of the fire all his life.

"God told him to join the Marines", ?, Gimme a break!
Contributing journalist to SiriusXM Road Dog Channel #106 and the award winning "The Lockridge Report", Member of TWNA, owner of Mexico Trucker Online,
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

EL GUAPO
In reply to this post by Chivis
What will come of this Chivis, is in another 3 months or so, the Judge will hand down sentence. He may get lucky and be given time served and deported, as Jabin Bogan was. Remember him?

He has lost the truck, his belongings and especially the weapons. That is a given.

The outcry from the wingnuts on the Fox News sites, instigated by his mama and anyone and everyone who wants their 15 minutes of fame, threatening Mexico, the Judge, the President, are doing this kid no good and actually are prolonging his ordeal.

Unfortunately, Mexican law does not provide what you suggest once the case has been filed and turned over for prosecution. Not even the President of Mexico can do anything about it.

Contributing journalist to SiriusXM Road Dog Channel #106 and the award winning "The Lockridge Report", Member of TWNA, owner of Mexico Trucker Online,
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

califero
Banned User
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
Ted poe has got to be smoking donkey-dick hair.  With Texas record of execution of Mexican criminals, even after international courts have found serious flaws in its death penalty proceedings in regards to criminals not having adequate access  to the Mexican consulate or in at least one occasion that comes to mind they executed a criminal that would have been considered insane anywhere in the world and now he has the nerve to ask Mexico to release this criminal.  I think it's a pretty straight forward case the EX marine committed a crime and he should pay for it.  I've met people in the feds that have gotten 10, 15 years for illegal entry into the us. Just cuz their families are here or they fear for their lifes in their countries.  If I had any say so in the way this case got handled I'd say lets look up US federal sentencing and statues regarding cases like this and lets treat it the same way any Mexican would get treated by the US. In other words NO mercy find all his priors use them against him and let the punishment fit the crime regardless of how fucked up he is in the head.
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by EL GUAPO
hola guapo!!!  I wondered where you went off to...

for sure his shit is gone.  I had to pay for mine to get it back.  they wanted 13k USD.  my dumbass assistant crossed at night with a truck full of school uniforms, they took them and my 6 month old truck.  

the only reason I got it back is parents protested outside the aduana, and the governors wife, presidente's  wife and several school directors went with me to see the jefe.  he brought it down to 2000USD as a "favor"  but that he had to charge something or "his employees will think of him as weak."

a nightmare.
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Mexico-Watcher
Chivis: Good cuento. You got the smarts and the connection to deal with the Mexican (In)Justice system.

BTW: To those pendejos who make snide remarks about "mommies" .... think how stupid you sound when everyone else except her gives up on some fool.  There are thousands of stories of where "mamas" made profound positive differences in the world (e.g. Argentina, Los Desaparecidos,). A common theme among dying men in battle is very often for "mama".  In Mexican Catholicism people mostly by-pass Jesus and los Santos to pray directly to La Virgen de Guadalupe (errr, Jesus' mom?).  Why is that?

I lost my mom as a child and I always felt that kids with moms were "real" lucky especially at special times like during holidays, special events, or when I was in trouble.

 So, you folks who disparage this Marine's mom, try to figure out where your anger is coming from, pendejos!   You should be so lucky when someday you find yourself abandoned and in desperate need!

Mexico-Watcher
 

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