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Latino Daily News

Friday July 11, 2014

U.S. Marine has Hearing in Mexico on Gun Charges

U.S. Marine has Hearing in Mexico on Gun Charges

Photo: Andrew Paul Tahmooressi

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

U.S. Marine reservist Andrew Paul Tahmooressi appeared before a Mexican judge for only the second time since he was arrested here April 1 for entering Mexico with military-grade weapons.

Tahmooressi has said from the beginning that he entered Tijuana inadvertently after he found himself stuck in the wrong lane while driving near the border crossing in San Ysidro, California.

The 25-year-old Afghanistan veteran’s arrest was marred by irregularities, his attorney, Fernando Benitez Alvarez del Castillo, said after Wednesday’s nine-hour evidentiary hearing in Tijuana.

For one thing, according to the lawyer, the customs paperwork documenting the search of Tahmooressi’s vehicle was dated March 28, several days prior to his detention.

Customs officials also held Tahmooressi for eight hours before bringing him before federal prosecutors and the detainee had no access to a lawyer or U.S. consular assistance during that interval, Alvarez del Castillo told reporters.

Tahmooressi, a Marine sergeant who left active duty in 2012, had military-grade firearms, ammunition and ammunition clips in his pickup truck when he drove into Tijuana.

In Mexico, unauthorized possession of army-issue guns and ordnance is a federal offense.

Mexican prosecutors said Tahmooressi did not identify himself as a U.S. servicemember at the time of his arrest.

Decorated for his two tours in Afghanistan, Tahmooressi was seeking treatment for PTSD in the months prior to his ill-fated Mexican excursion.

Reporters and cameras were barred from Wednesday’s hearing, but the defendant’s mother, Jill Tahmooressi, was present.

The next hearing is set for Aug. 4, Alvarez del Castillo said.

Tahmooressi’s case has become a cause celebre in the United States, with lawmakers and others demanding that President Barack Obama put pressure on Mexico to release the Marine reservist.

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