Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Morris County Freeholders are urging President Obama and the U. S. government to do everything in their power to gain the release of an American Marine reservist being held in a Mexican prison.

The freeholders have adopted a resolution expressing their outrage that Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Marine Corps veteran who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, remains wrongfully imprisoned in Mexico.

“I am incensed that our government is not doing enough to secure the immediate release of Sgt. Tahmooressi,” said Freeholder Director Tom Mastrangelo.

Sgt. Tahmooressi, who was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following two tours of duty in Afghanistan, was arrested at the United States-Mexican border and imprisoned on March 31, 2014, after he said he mistakenly crossed the border into Mexico after taking a wrong turn.

He was charged with weapons trafficking when three legally registered guns were found in his possession because he said he kept everything he owned in the truck he was driving, having just moved from Florida to San Diego, Calf.

Sgt. Tahmooressi alleges that abuse during the beginning of his incarceration and poor prison conditions led him to attempt suicide.“

The freeholders are urging the president to utilize the full powers and authorities of his office to immediately secure Sergeant Tahmooressi’s immediate release from Mexican custody to the United States so he can receive the appropriate medical assistance for his medical condition,” Freeholder Director Mastrangelo said. “Time is of the essence.”

Reports out of Mexico this week state that psychiatrists working for both the prosecution and Sgt. Tahmooressi’s defense attorney in Mexico have met with Sgt. Tahmooressi to determine his mental health, and their reports are expected to reach a federal judge in Tijuana soon.

According to Mastrangelo, the freeholder resolution calls for a delegation of Congressional and State Department representatives, the Red Cross and American medical professionals to meet with Sgt. Tahmooressi while the details of his immediate release are being negotiated to assess his physical and emotional well-being.

“If Sgt. Tahmooressi’s immediate release does not occur, the United States should impose economic sanctions, including travel restrictions, against the Mexican government,” Mastrangelo said.

The resolution has been sent to President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, congressional leadership in the House and Senate, the state’s congressional delegation, the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C., Gov. Christie, the speakers of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly and the county’s state legislators.

Mastrangelo said the resolution has also been sent to each municipality and freeholder board in the state asking them to adopt and distribute similar resolutions.