Lawyer For US Marine Andrew Tahmooressi Says Mexican Police Acted Improperly
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Aired 8/6/14 on KPBS News.
The lawyer for the U.S. Marine veteran accused of crossing into Mexico with illegal guns and ammunition says customs officials who searched the Afghanistan war veteran's car acted improperly.
The lawyer for the U.S. Marine veteran accused of crossing into Mexico with illegal guns and ammunition says customs officials who searched the Marine’s car acted improperly.
Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi’s latest lawyer said on Tuesday his client’s human rights were violated when Mexican customs officials held him for eight hours at the border, failed to provide him with a translator and didn’t immediately inform him of his right to counsel.
Tahmooressi is charged with three counts of carrying illegal firearms and ammunition in Mexico. He crossed into Tijuana on March 31 with three loaded weapons and more than 400 rounds of ammunition in his truck. He’s been in prison in Baja California since then.
Tahmooressi, 26, contends that he didn’t mean to cross the border. Tahmooressi served two tours in Afghanistan and is now in the reserves.
Tahmooressi’s lawyer, Fernando Benitez, hopes to disqualify most of the Mexican government’s evidence in the case by proving that the customs officials who searched Tahmooressi’s car didn’t follow the law.
“Our contention is that the search is illegal,” Benitez said.
Tahmooressi’s mother joined the lawyer in a news conference in Solana Beach. When a supporter asked how she and others could help, Jill Tahmooressi said to send letters to her son in prison.
“Because he is in El Hongo, he’s in solitary confinement,” she said, adding “any words, any support, prayers” would help.
Jill Tahmooressi said her son was very confident in his lawyer and in his eventual release from prison.
More than 130,000 people have signed a petition on the White House website demanding his release since has been been in a Mexican jail cell.
But NBC San Diego reports prosecutors are holding firm that standard protocol was in place the night Tahmooressi was arrested and detained:
Home Post blogger Beth Ford Roth and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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