WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) today wrote to Mexican Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo who today is presiding over the hearing of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, the U.S. Marine who despite having served honorably, is being held in jail for mistakenly crossing the Mexican border with legally owned firearms.

After working in consultation with Sgt. Tahmooressi’s attorney, Reps. Terry and Hunter submitted the letter as evidence of political support in the United States.

“Sgt. Tahmooresi has honorably served our country; having been there when we’ve asked him,” said Terry.  “It’s only appropriate Congress voice that he’s held in good standing by his own country. I’m pleased to work with Duncan and other members of the House and give Andrew that voice.”

“After more than 100 days in prison for taking a wrong turn at the border, Andrew has shown immense strength and resolve, and it’s important that he’s reminded that he has unwavering support here at home,” said Hunter.  “The Court must also be reminded that Andrew is a Marine Corps veteran who risked his life for his nation and his fellow Marines, and he deserves to have his case quickly and favorable resolved on the basis that he made a simple mistake at the border.”    

“We believe the evidence supports Andrew’s claim that he mistakenly entered into Mexico. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is a 911 call Andrew made at the border checkpoint, where he stated he was unaware of his location” the letter reads.

The bipartisan letter was signed and sent today by 74 members of the House of Representatives.

 

Text of the letter is below:

 

The Honorable Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo

Juez Sexto de Distrito de Procedimientos Penales Federales XV Circuito

Ave Paseo De Los Heroes #10540 6TO. Piso, Zona Rio

Tijuana, Baja California 22010

 

Dear Judge Escobedo:

We appreciate your careful consideration of the Andrew Tahmooressi case. As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we stand behind Andrew and believe the specific circumstances of this case require Andrew to be returned to the U.S. immediately.

We believe the evidence supports Andrew’s claim that he mistakenly entered into Mexico. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is a 911 call Andrew made at the border checkpoint, where he stated that he was unaware of his location. It’s also important to take into account that Andrew was new to the San Diego area, without permanent housing, and had many of his possessions in his car. Like many of those new to the area, he was unfamiliar with the often confusing roads along the border and was unable to turn around before entering Mexico.

Andrew’s character and service should also be taken into account. Andrew is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served his country honorably, enduring two combat tours in Afghanistan, and earning a promotion to Sergeant on the battlefield—a high honor for any service member. Further, he saved lives on the battlefield in several instances, showing both courage and commitment to his fellow Marines. Andrew suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his time in combat and moved to the San Diego area to seek treatment. Regrettably, his incarceration prevents him from getting the treatment that he deserves. The Marine Corps has stood by Andrew, and has pledged its assistance to resolve this case.

As this case moves forward, we urge you to consider the specific circumstances of this case, and hope that you will arrive at the same conclusion we have—that Andrew should be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

Duncan Hunter Member of Congress

Lee Terry Member of Congress