Ocean County Press Release
Freeholders Urge President To Seek Immediate Release of Combat Veteran
TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders today expressed outrage that a decorated U.S. Marine remains captive in a Mexican jail and called on President Obama to secure his immediate release.
Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has now been locked up in a Mexican prison for 129 days following his March 31st arrest after he accidentally crossed the border while carrying three legally registered firearms in the back of his Ford pickup.
"Records clearly show that Sgt. Tahmooressi immediately realized he had made a wrong turn and tried to return to the American side of the border," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "He instantly disclosed to Mexican authorities that the firearms were in his truck and that he had become confused while driving near the border."
Despite having absolutely no evidence that Tahmooressi was trying to "sneak" across the border, Mexican police arrested and jailed him.
A veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan, the 25-year-old Weston, Florida native had moved to southern California to undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
His mother fears that Tahmooressi's ordeal and confinement will worsen his condition.
She reported that her son was shackled by the wrists and ankles and feared for his life after he was threatened by other inmates, including drug lords.
"Why have we abandoned this hero who so valiantly served his country," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little. "The Marines have a saying, No Man Left Behind. We ask our president to honor that call and secure the release of Sgt. Tahmooressi."
Joining the Freeholders at their public meeting was a contingent of Marine Corps veterans who joined the call for Tahmooressi's release.
Across the country more than 135,000 people have signed a petition supporting Tahmooressi's return to the United States.
More than 70 members of Congress have also asked Mexico to release the combat veteran.
According to Tahmooressi's own attorney, the south-of-the-border trial could continue to November, meaning that in the very best case the Marine is months away from a homecoming.
"This man needs treatment and he needs it today," said Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau. "Let's bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home, where he will be treated like a hero, not a criminal."
The Freeholders unanimously approved a resolution asking that "the President of the United States utilize his full powers and authorities of his office to immediately secure the release of United States Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi."