911 call captures Weston Marine prior to imprisonment in Mexico - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

911 call captures Weston Marine prior to imprisonment in Mexico

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U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A newly-released 911 call made by a U.S. Marine from South Florida being held in a Mexican prison is shedding new light on the day he was arrested after carrying three guns across the border.

During the call he made on March 31, moments after he was stopped by Mexican authorities, 25-year-old U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Weston resident who was living in San Diego to receive treatment for PTSD, attempted to seek help from U.S. police.

911 operator: "911 emergency."

Andrew Tahmooressi: "Hi. I'm having a little bit of an emergency here."

911 operator: "What's going on?"

Andrew Tahmooressi: "Hello, are you there?"

911 operator: "Yeah, I'm here, what is the address of your emergency?"

Calm and collected but clearly terrified, Tahmooressi made a call for help after a wrong turn landed him in serious trouble south of the border.

Andrew Tahmooressi: "I'm at the border of Mexico right now. My problem is, I crossed the border by accident and I have three guns in my truck, and they're trying to possess-- they're trying to take my guns from me."

911 operator: "So you're in Mexico?"

Andrew Tahmooressi: "Yeah, I ..."

911 operator: "There's nothing I can help you with, then, sir. I do apologize. You're not on American soil anymore. I can't really help you."

Andrew Tahmooressi: "I don't know if I'm really on the... I'm not sure if I crossed yet, I guess."

Tahmooressi, an Afghanistan War veteran, has been held in a Mexican prison since April 1. He said he was driving to meet up with friends in Southern California but accidentally crossed into Mexico. The firearms in his vehicle are legally registered to him in the U.S., but it is illegal to carry them across the Mexican border.

He tried looking for a place to turn around but said he could not find one. The 911 operator in the United States was unable to help.

911 operator: "Well, is it Mexican authorities that are talking to you?"

Andrew Tahmooressi: "Yes, Mexican authorities."

911 operator: "Then you're in Mexico."

Andrew Tahmooressi: "So, they have the right to just take my gun?"

911 operator: "There's a huge sign that says it is illegal to enter Mexico with guns. When you're driving down the 805 and the five freeways."

Then Mexican police quickly put Tahmooressi in handcuffs and hauled him off to jail. "He did not tell us that he crossed by mistake," said Head of Mexican Customs Alejandro Gonzalez Guilbot. "Andrew drove into Mexican Border and chose the line 'Nothing to Declare.'"

Now, Tahmooressi's family is fighting for his freedom, holding rallies to raise awareness for his harrowing situation. They said he risked his life for his country, but now his country is failing him.

Tahmooressi's mother, Jill Tahmooressi, said, "I want to see my son ever so badly. He needs his freedom back. It was a mistake. There is no, in my opinion, legitimate progress and slow to respond as far as the judicial system."

Steve Sutton, the Marine's uncle, got emotional when he said, "They raised their hand after 9/11, you know? They're out there on the frontlines for us, and they're being abandoned now. They need to come home."

Tahmooressi's mother has led an effort to try and free her son. U.S. lawmakers have called for his release. She created an online petition on WhiteHouse.gov and needs 100,000 signatures so President Obama's staff can get involved. She only has over 17,000.

Andrew was recently transferred to a new prison. "I was nervous, you know, cause I was missing my family. No one ... seemed like no one really cared for me there too much, so it didn't seem like I had any hope at all," said Tahmooressi.

Andrew's next hearing will be later in May, and a Mexican judge will decide his fate.


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