Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) asked the United States to stop sending military aid to Mexico until a jailed Marine Corps sergeant is released.
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a 25-year-old Marine Reservist who served two tours in Afghanistan, was arrested in late March when he accidentally drove into Mexico after missing a freeway exit.
Authorities in Tijuana discovered that Tahmooressi had three guns in his car, which he owned legally in the U.S.
The authorities took Tahmooressi to prison, where he has been languishing since. Tahmooressi allegedly tried to escape once and stabbed himself. He was placed in the jail’s infirmary with restraints on his arms and legs.
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Rep. Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services committee, asked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to suspend military aid to Mexico, Fox News reports.
“You have the authority to suspend cooperation with the Mexican military in a number of areas,” said Hunter, who served two tours as a member of the Marines Corps in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. “In light of the Mexican government’s incarceration of Andrew, I urge you to immediately consider suspending training and equipment assistance to Mexico until Andrew’s case is resolved.”
Hunter also wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities into the United States.
Proceedings against Tahmooressi are scheduled to begin May 28, but U.S. authorities are pressuring Mexico to hasten them and to drop the charges. Hunter has been especially active in trying to secure the Marine’s release.
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Tahmooressi was moving to San Diego with a Marine friend, where he was being treated for post-traumatic stress order at the time of his arrest.
His mother has been campaigning for the U.S. government to do more for his release.
"The brutality of being ... unjustly in a foreign prison is worse than any experience I had with him serving two tours in Afghanistan," she told CNN. "He was willing to die for his country as a Marine. Where is his country now when he needs it the most?"