Supporters Rally for 2-Month Anniversary of Weston Marine's Arrest in Mexico | NBC 6 South Florida

Supporters Rally for 2-Month Anniversary of Weston Marine's Arrest in Mexico

Friends and family gathered in protest on the two-month anniversary of a Weston Marine's arrest in Mexico.



    (Published Saturday, May 31, 2014)

    Family, friends and supporters stood united at Veteran's Park in Pinecrest Saturday to mark the two-month anniversary of Andrew Tahmooressi's arrest.

    More than 50 people gathered with signs that read "A Hero Not a Criminal" and "Let Andrew Go" as they stood by the side of U.S. 1 chanting "Bring Andrew home."

    The 25-year-old Marine reservist is being held in a Mexican jail on weapons charges after he drove his black Ford pickup over the border at San Ysidro, California, into Tijuana. Family members said 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.

    Weston Marine Jailed in Mexico Appears in Court

    [MI] Weston Marine Jailed in Mexico Appears in Court
    A Weston marine who accidentally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with weapons remains behind bars after appearing before a judge Wednesday. NBC 6's Justin Finch reports.
    (Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Tahmooressi, who is from Weston and has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

    His mother said she is still concerned about her son's safety and that his family and friends will not back down in trying to bring him back.

    "I'm like an expectant mother," said Jill Tahmooressi. "My bag is packed, his bag is packed, I'm ready to head there and bring him on home."

    A hotel receipt made public by Tijuana newspaper Zeta indicates Andrew Tahmooressi had crossed the border once before his arrest. The receipt indicates he stayed in a Tijuana hotel on the night of his arrest. Jill Tahmooressi confirmed to NBC 6 the receipt is factual and claims her son's first attorney told him to say he had never been in Mexico at the time of his arrest. Since then, Tahmooressi has hired a new lawyer.

    "Yes, that document is accurate," Jill Tahmooressi said. "Andrew had secured a hotel room that day on March 31 when he had walked into Mexico. He purposefully registered at a Mexican hotel thinking he could save $50."

    Once he checked in, Jill Tahmooressi said her son thought the room was dirty and dark, so he left and walked across the border to his truck parked on the U.S. side.

    "He crossed on foot and then was driving towards San Diego to stay again in the old town San Diego in a hotel when he accidentally made that wrong turn," Jill Tahmooressi said.

    Andrew Tahmooressi went before a judge Wednesday for the first time since his arrest near Tijuana on April 1. The hearing was closed but a second hearing was reportedly scheduled for June.

    Olivia Hammar, also the mother of an ex-Marine, said Andrew Tahmooressi's case is all too familiar for her. In 2012, her son Jon Hammar was arrested at the Mexican border for carrying an antique shotgun.

    "Recently it was disclosed that Andrew was stripped and beaten and the fact that our government hasn't done anything about that is heinous," Olivia Hammar said.

    Tahmooressi has gained the support of Florida elected officials, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Marco Rubio. His family has also started a White House petition asking for his release.

    "With a 100,000 signatures that we've already met, we'll be looking for a White House response now," Jill Tahmooressi said.