A U.S. Marine veteran from Weston is being detained in Mexico for bringing outlawed weapons into the country.
Marine Reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, was arrested after driving his black Ford pickup over the border at San Ysidro, Calif., into Tijuana on April 1.
Tahmooressi, who was in possession of three U.S.-registered firearms, got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico, his family said.
Now Tahmooressi, who was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, is shackled to a cot with his limbs restrained following an escape attempt at the La Mesa penitentiary.
"I 've gotta be big and brave for Andrew's sake," said his mother Jill Tahmooressi. "You know that expresion that you leave no man behind."
His mother was able to visit him at the prison on April 14.
The worst night for Jill was about 4 days into her son's time in prison.
"He said, 'Mom, I'm not going to make it through the night, I'm gonna be killed tonight. Whatever you do, don't come down here to ask questions."
U.S. officials have visited Tahmooressi at least nine times since his arrest, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who lives in Weston, said she is supporting the family.
"The Congresswoman...instructed her staff to get in touch with the State Department right away to ensure that Andrew’s case was being handled as expeditiously as possible. Our office will remain in close contact with the State Department as the trial approaches, and will continue to be of service to the family where we can and when appropriate," a statement from Wasserman Schultz's office read.
Tahmooressi's trial is expected to begin on May 28. A WhiteHouse.gov petition has been posted to demand his release and a Facebook page "Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail" has also been set up to support the soldier.
"I'm pleading ot the American public, to sign the White House petition; so that I can get that 100,000 signatures this month of May," Jill said.
The Tahmooressi case is strikingly similar to the incident involving South Florida Marine veteran Jon Hammar, who spent months in a Mexican prison for bringing an unloaded shotgun into the country. Hammar, who was on a road trip to go surfing in Costa Rica, was freed in December 2012.