PHOENIX -- The mother of a U.S. Marine with ties to the Valley told 3TV she is furious that her son has spent more than two months in a Mexican jail.
Jill Tahmooressi's son, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, was taken to jail in late March after he accidentally crossed the border into Mexico with three guns in his car.
"How they can hold one of our Marines captive is beyond me," said Jill Tahmooressi, who lives in Florida. "I don't understand. I thought that Mexico was our ally and our friendly neighbors to the south. I'm furious that we on the American side do not protect wayward motorists, but I cannot believe that there was no cooperation at the border when Andrew dialed 911 asking for help."
The Marine is now in a new prison, where he is kept in solitary confinement.
"He's in a private cell. It's a 10-cell block, but all the cells are vacant except for his," Jill Tahmooressi said. "He is under 24/7 guard which also gives me peace of mind."
She said his days are sad, and he is despondent but trying to stay hopeful. With no electronics, he spends his day reading his Bible and staring at the four blank walls in his cell without sunshine. But it's a far cry from the first jail where he was held.
"There was absolutely torturous conditions by both the inmates towards Andrew and the guards," Jill Tahmooressi said.
Congressman Matt Salmon is making a trip to Mexico to visit the Marine on Saturday.
"This will be the second visit for Rep. Matt Salmon, and Andrew very much enjoyed his last visit because it helps Andrew have some confidence that he's not totally abandoned, that there are legislative elected public officials that do care about him," Jill Tahmooressi said.
Andrew Tahmooressi has hired a new lawyer. His mother said this will be his third legal team so far, and they are optimistic they can get the Marine released.
"He needs his freedom so he can be productive once again in America," Jill Tahmooressi said. "We are going to love on him and give him the support that he needs."
She also said the U.S. needs better signage near to the border to prevent similar situations from happening again.
Andrew Tahmooressi had walked into Tijuana to shop but when he got back into his car on the U.S. side of the border, he missed his exit to San Diego and ended up back in Mexico with the guns in his truck. The guns are allowed in the U.S. but illegal to bring into Mexico.
The Marine's aunt, Beth Whitney, lives in the West Valley. She rallied outside the offices of Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake in May in an effort to have her nephew freed.
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