Marine held in Mexico on gun charges released

Retired marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who languished for 214 days in a Mexican jail for bringing guns across the border by mistake, was released by authorities yesterday.

The decorated marine took a wrong turn near Tijuana and ended up in Mexico, where he was arrested for possessing three loaded guns.

The Hill:

A family spokesman told The Associated Press that the judge decided to release retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, whose detention spurred calls from lawmakers.

"It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail," the family said in a statement.

Tahmooressi has said he drove across the U.S. border into Tijuana by mistake with three loaded guns in his car.

His case received heightened attention from conservative politicians, including Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas). Stockman was a strong supporter of the #BringBackOurMarine campaign on Twitter, lobbying lawmakers to join his tweets and recording videos asking for  Tahmooressi's release. Stockman also introduced a resolution that would impose sanctions on Mexico unless Tahmooressi was released. 

Tahmooressi's mother pled to President Obama to help negotiate her son's release during a congressional hearing earlier this month. 

Mexico has contended that he should stand trial for breaking a federal law, but his lawyers have argued for his release because Mexico cannot give him treatment for his post-traumatic stress.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said in a statement that he was “truly overjoyed” by the news” and emphasized that the move is integral to help Tahmooressi receive treatment for his stress.  

“While I am disappointed that his release did not take place much sooner, I am thankful to Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam for displaying compassion for Sergeant Tahmooressi’s medical condition,” he said. “We wish Andrew a safe and happy return to the United States.”

Some lawmakers accused the administration of dragging their feet in helping Sergeant Tahmooressi.  In the end, writes PJ Media's Bridget Johnson, it was former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson who secured his release:

“Richardson has been in the San Diego/Tijuana area this week advocating for Andrew’s release and will escort Andrew and his mother back home,” the Richardson Center for Global Engagement said in a statement, adding that they would return to Florida on a private plane “late in the day.”

Richardson’s foundation “has worked closely on this case and has provided the chartered flight that will bring Andrew home.”

“I feel that the Baja California corrections officers and the Mexican government have been very helpful. I respect Mexico’s judicial process, and I am pleased that Andrew was released today and will return home to his family,” Richardson said in a statement.

Richardson will also ask Congress “to fund programs that allow veterans, especially those returning from combat, a period of time to decompress before returning to civilian life.”

The governor stressed that it was a bipartisan effort, and singled out House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) for “joining forces on this effort,” as well as “the thousands of Andrew’s supporters that have diligently advocated for his release namely via social media; and special thanks to Andrew’s mother, Jill, who has truly quarterbacked the efforts to bring her son home.”

Should it have taken a private citizen and a private foundation to retrieve our jailed marine?  Isn't that the job of the State Department and the White House?

Just asking.