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TX Congressman Wants ‘Trade-Off’ To Free U.S. Marine From Mexico

Joe Gomez for 1080 KRLD | CBSDFW.COM
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Photo of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi taken from the 'Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail' Facebook page.

Photo of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi taken from the ‘Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail’ Facebook page.

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DALLAS, Texas (1080 KRLD) – Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was arrested in Mexico after making a wrong turn across the border from California with firearms that he legally owns in the U.S. but are illegal in Mexico.  He’s been held for over 2 months now and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Houston) thinks it’s time the Obama Administration bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home, in light of its effort to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was traded for five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo bay.

“It’s ironic that we can deal with the Taliban and get an American soldier released but we can’t get a Marine across the border released,” Rep. Poe says. “What the President ought to do is just call the Mexican government and say ‘tell you what, we will trade five Mexican prisoners for the Marine – or – we’re not sending any more money to Mexico until you let him go.'”

Tahmooressi, who is a decorated veteran and has served two tours in Afghanistan suffers from PTSD. He recently complained of being held in deplorable conditions in a Mexican jail, being abused and deprived of food and water. Something Mexican authorities have denied.

“They’re fairly rough,” says border security expert and former State Rep. Aaron Pena (R-McAllen).  “Many of the prisons on the other side are run by prison gangs or corrupt cops, you’re dependent on outside people to take care of you; bringing you food and necessities.”

Pena, who is also an attorney that has worked with the Mexican government before, thinks Rep. Poe’s idea to make a trade-off to free Sgt.  Tahmooressi could work.

“That’s done all the time, whether or not people want to admit it. It just takes a bribe or a pay off or some sort of transfer of something of value.” Pena said. “We know these people, they’re not foreign to us.  Many of the people who operate the prisons have families who live in the United States.  These are government officials who we do business with.”

A petition to free Sgt. Tahmooressi on the White House’s “We the People” website has gathered over 100,000 signatures so far – which is over the amount needed to get a response from the White House.  So far Tahmooressi’s family has received none.

“I have talked to the State Department and they said they have visited him on a regular basis over twenty times.” said Rep. Poe who believes the U.S. government still isn’t giving enough attention to free Sgt. Tahmooressi.  “If enough was being done he would have been released already, I think we need to be a little more forceful with the Mexican government.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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