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U.S. Marine being held in Mexico after making wrong turn

WESTON, Fla. (CBSMiami) -- Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi continues to languish in a Mexican jail. He recently told his story to a San Diego newspaper reporter. Tahmooressi, from Weston, described his first encounter after he mistakenly crossed the border in late March with several guns in his truck.

"I said, 'I have three guns' and I showed them where the guns were and they checked out the guns and I said, 'I didn't even mean  to be in Mexico. It was a mistake for me to be here. Can I just go back to the border?'" Tahmooressi told the reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Five minutes later I was surrounded by like 20 military officials and police officers with guns watching me."

Tahmooressi, who served two tours in Afghanistan, said the guns were his and he had no plans to sell them on the black market. Tahmooressi said that after he was arrested for weapons smuggling his life was threatened.

"The people in there they started messing with me," he said. "They were trying to make me more scared than I already was."

We showed the videos to Tahmooressi's mother, Jill. She said her son has always been calm under pressure.

"I can tell that he's just being as gracious and polite as a fine Marine would be," she said.

Tahmooressi's home has become a command center for efforts to win her son's release. She says he moved to San Diego to get treatment for PTSD and he had all of his belongings in his truck while he searched for a place to live. She said he wound up in Mexico by mistake and that this should have been sorted out by now.

"I can understand why the Mexican officials needed to investigate," she told CBS 4s Carey Codd. "But 72 hours later they surely had the evidence that those guns were traced, legally purchased, traced to his name, no criminal record, a Marine whose been honorably discharged. "

Andrew Tahmooressi described how he tried to escape from the jail before being shot at, as he believed his life was in mortal danger inside the jail. He said he's holding up despite the allegations and he made it clear that he had no designs on putting weapons on the streets of Mexico.

"I had no bad intentions. I had no intentions of smuggling my weapons," he said. "I had no intention of selling them or anything of that sort. I'm a pretty decent guy. I'm a pretty good man with good morals. I believe in God. I put my faith in God that he'll take care of me."

Jill Tahmooressi believes her efforts are working. She told CBS 4 News that her son has been moved to a federal prison in Mexico where there is better security. Up next is a hearing for Andrew Tahmooressi at the end of May. His mother hopes at that time or even before then Mexican officials will release him.

Tahmooressi's weapons are not legal in Mexico where authorities are fighting a war against drug cartels who get their fire power from the United States.

Supporters organized a protest on Monday, May 5th in front of the Mexican consulate in Miami. They said Tahmooressi, who tried to escape at least once, was chained to a cot and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. They fear he could be hurt or even get killed in a Mexican jail.

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Source: WFOR-TV

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