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Lawmaker calls on US to suspend aid to Mexico over jailed Marine

 

A key lawmaker on Monday called on the United States to suspend military aid to Mexico in light of the jailing of a Marine Corps sergeant who mistakenly entered the country with firearms.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a 25-year-old combat veteran, was jailed in late March after he missed a freeway exit near San Ysidro, Calif., and drove into Tijuana, where Mexican authorities discovered he had three guns in his car. Although the guns were legally owned in the United States, and Tahmooressi had no intention of traveling to Mexico, he’s been jailed for more than a month.

On Monday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services committee, asked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to suspend military aid to Mexico, including training, intelligence cooperation and equipment transfers.

“You have the authority to suspend cooperation with the Mexican military in a number of areas,” said Hunter, who served two tours as a member of the Marines Corps in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. “In light of the Mexican government’s incarceration of Andrew, I urge you to immediately consider suspending training and equipment assistance to Mexico until Andrew’s case is resolved.”

Also on Monday, Hunter authored a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, seeking information about unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities into the United States, a request he says was motivated by Tahmooressi’s jailing.

Hunter has actively tried to secure Tahmooressi’s release. He has called on Secretary of State John Kerry to pressure Mexico into releasing him, and earlier this month, his office released a bipartisan letter signed by 21 members of Congress asking the Mexican attorney general to release him.

Tahmooressi was held inside La Mesa Prison in Tijuana after his March 31 arrest, though he was moved to another prison 40 miles east of Tijuana on Thursday, Hunter's office told FoxNews.com. After he allegedly attempted to escape and suffered a self-inflicted stab wound, he was at one point placed in a jail infirmary with his arms and legs restrained.

Proceedings against Tahmooressi are scheduled for May 28, though U.S. lawmakers are urging them to be expedited and for all charges to be dropped.

Tahmooressi, an active U.S. Marine reservist who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, including a 2010 stint in the violent Marjah district, was moving to San Diego with a Marine friend be close to his treatment center for his post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of his arrest.

FoxNews.com’s Karl de Vries and The Associated Press contributed to this report.