After months in a Mexican prison, former U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi is back with his family in the United States. He was arrested after crossing the border with loaded guns, and spent eight months in prison while American politicians pressured Mexican authorities, the Associated Press reported.
Tahmooressi, 26, said he had no intention of crossing the border with firearms, but took a wrong turn while driving in California, and had no choice but to cross the border. In his car was a rifle, shotgun, pistol and ammunition. His attorney argued he kept them nearby to make him feel safe, since he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his service in Afghanistan.
He was arrested and put in a Tijuana jail where he tried to kill himself before he was transferred to another prison where he was monitored by medical staff.
Mexico has increased its border security to stem the flow of American weapons used by drug cartels.
Tahmooressi's arrest triggered an outcry in the United States. A U.S. congressional committee held a hearing on the case, amid calls for his freedom from politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns.
Tahmooressi, a former Marine sergeant, arrived home at 6 a.m. Saturday on a private plane with his mother and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, as well as other supporters.
Richardson, who grew up in Mexico, was one of Tahmooressi’s most vocal supporters, and helped negotiate his release with Mexican officials.
"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.
For now, Tahmooressi is staying with his family in Florida.
“They’re just spending time together, trying to figure out what’s next,” family spokesperson Jon Franks told reporters.