According to The Associated Press, former US Marine sergeant who served two tours of combat service in Afghanistan and whom was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) prior to taking a wrong exit forcing him into México, ended up spending eight months in a Mexican prison that exceeds the challenges he faced during two combat tours in Afghanistan.
For those that unaware of Andrew Tahmooressi, 26, his harrowing experience in México, compliments of seven months in a harsh prison, returned to Florida AKA terra firma USA, on Saturday, November 1.
That being said, getting lost on the US-Mexican border, Andrew Tahmooressi got lost and was forced into drive into México with three loaded firearms that was not his intent to do.
Family spokesman Jon Franks said the private aircraft carrying the former Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, his mother and supporters — including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson--landed at a South Florida airport at 0600 hours.
Tahmooressi was freed Friday night (October 31) and reunited with his mother, Jill, and then boarded a flight in San Diego to Florida.
"They're just spending time together, trying to figure out what's next," Franks told reporters at a hotel in this suburb west of Fort Lauderdale. "They need some time to decompress."
In Mexico, possession of weapons restricted for use by the Army is a federal crime, and the country has been tightening up its border checks to stop the flow of US weapons that have been used by drug cartels.
In his order Friday, the Mexican judge did not make a determination on the illegal arms charges against Andrew Tahmooressi, but freed him on the basis of his suffering from PTSD since 2012.
COMMENT: One other priority: after 214 days in the Mexican jail, Tahmooressi really wants to grab some dinner as soon as possible at famed South Beach seafood eatery Joe's Stone Crab, Franks said.
Richardson, the former Democratic governor who grew up in México and has negotiated on a range of international issues, said he met with Tahmooressi in jail in the border city of Tecate, and had talked to Mexican officials to urge them to release Tahmooressi on humanitarian grounds.
"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 Friday.
Mexican authorities, however, had made clear that they would not be influenced by politics and that the matter was in the hands of its courts.
Tahmooressi’s Mexican attorney, Fernando Benitez, argued that Tahmooressi’s transportation of loaded guns with him because his weapons, which were purchased legally in the US, make him feel safer. He added that the veteran is often distracted, which could have contributed to his becoming lost.
Tahmooressi never admitted wrongdoing, and he still maintains his innocence, his attorney said.
After being jailed in Tijuana, he tried to kill himself by cutting his neck with a chard from a light bulb in his cell because the guards and inmates threatened to rape, torture and kill him, Tahmooressi's mother, Jill, said.
He was transferred to another prison, where a pastor visited him regularly and the Mexican government says he was under medical observation.
Yet, a psychiatrist hired by Mexican prosecutors to examine the Afghanistan veteran agreed with the defense that he should get PTSD treatment in the United States, noting in a Sept. 30 report that Tahmooressi, who now serves in the Marine reserve, feels as if he is in danger 24/7.