SAN DIEGO.– Andrew Tahmooressi’s story has taken a recent turn, the ongoing investigation reveals that the former marine had visited Tijuana more than once before his arrest at Customs.
New information revealed through several media outlets — among them Zeta newspaper — confirms that Tahmooressi had been to Tijuana at least twice before his April 1 arrest; the data coincides with movement in his bank account. It is assumed that the ex–marine had crossed the border on foot for personal reasons. Some of his acquaintances confirmed this information to authorities investigating the case.
Alejandro Osuna, Andrew Tahmooressi’s lawyer, confirmed the accounts to be true and stated that he had been the one to advise Tahmooressi to stick to the script and not reveal the previous visits, because this could possibly affect the credibility of his declarations. Osuna explained to the U-T San Diego that although Tahmooressi had attemted to change his initial declaration Osuna persuaded him to continue — although the truth is still uncertain considering the recent information circulating in the media.
Another interesting detail to note are the declarations of Alejandro González Guilbot, chief of Mexican Customs in Tijuana, whose declarations do not coincide with Andrew Tahmooressi’s initial claims. “He never said that he was lost, he never informed us that he was carrying weapons, and he never said that he was a former member of the armed forces,” González stated. The Chief of Customs added that his agents initially detained the vehicle because it was lacking a front license plate, and upon inspecting the vehicle discovered the three loaded weapons — two of which are considered military grade in Mexico — and 400 pieces of ammunition.
González, who has been chief for almost a year, mentioned that approximately twice a week they detain American citizens with firearms at Customs, but on this occasion he saw the largest arsenal that he has been involved in confiscating.
Some maintain his innocence and insist that he crossed into Mexico by mistake
In the U.S., support for Tahmooressi continues strong and is led by his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, and State representative Duncan Hunter, who — even with these new revelations — has petitioned U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to suspend all military collaboration with Mexico, including training, intelligence cooperation and aid for equipment. This petition has yet to receive a response.
Of note is the fact the Hunter’s team had knowledge of Tahmooressi’s previous visits to Tijuana, but insists that this detail is irrelevant. “In the end, it’s irrelevant whenever or not he crossed the border previously,” said Joe Kasper, Hunter’s spokesman.
Jill Tahmooressi insists that her son “does not lie” and for her the fact that her lawyer recommended that Tahmooressi do so in his declarations is a clear sign that the Mexican authorities cannot be trusted. Tahmooressi’s mother also mentioned that she would not have her son’s defense attorney replaced because the case would take longer to be resolved.
Authorities on both sides of the border have questions about this situation. Francisco “Kiko” Vega de Lamadrid, Governor of Baja California, expressed that there was no risk of diplomatic conflict over Tahmooressi’s case, since he is being well cared for — both physically and spiritually. In an interview with Milenio he indicated the arrest had proceeded according to Mexican law, and that there were no irregularities to report.
“I hope the situation is resolved soon; it is a matter of a Federal violation, and I think we have to consider those responsible in this situation and in others like it. What I can say is that he is being perfectly well taken care of; he is in communication with those that he is supposed to be in touch with; he is receiving spiritual support, and I hope that this situation is resolved shortly,” Vega de Lamadrid added.
Tahmooressi’s case is to be tried on May 28. For now he remains encarcerated at “El Hongo” (The Mushroom), where he has been since May 8.