OTR Interviews

Friend of jailed Marine: Mexican authorities chained him to a bed, treated him like a prisoner of war, the worst kind of gun smuggler

Marine who served beside Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi says he claims prison officials chained him to a bed, treated him like the 'worst gun smuggler' #MarineHeldinMexico

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 28, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest is a Marine who served with Sergeant Tahmooressi in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Mark Podlaski joins us. Good evening, sir.

SGT. MARK PODLASKI, U.S. MARINE WHO SERVED WITH ANDREW TAHMOORESSI: Good evening, Greta. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. So when did you meet Sergeant Tahmooressi?

PODLASKI: I met Sergeant Tahmooressi in 2008 when we got to Paris Island Marine Recruit Depot. We were side by sided entire four years. We were sidekicks, always together.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's he like?

PODLASKI: He is the most unselfish, motivated, lead-by-example Marine. A Marine's Marine, if you will. Without a doubt, this couldn't have happened to a better person and Marine. I mean, he is an outstanding character.

VAN SUSTEREN: When he did two tours in Afghanistan, one of his vehicles got hit by an IED and I know he suffers from PTSD. Do you know anything about this incident? Do you know anything about sort of his status or his health?

PODLASKI: Absolutely. As far as the incident goes, I was there that day. Watching your friend get blown up in combat and not being able to run to their aid is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He has got obvious issues with brain trauma. There was a second occasion where there was machine guns getting moved from vehicle to vehicle on the second tour and he sustained a second head trauma. You know, his mental health, you know, post-traumatic stress is a very common situation with combat vets.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he --

PODLASKI: So he needs the help. He needs to get out of there and get back to this country. The fact that he is still in there is ridiculous.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you spoken to him since he has been in prison? If so, when was the most recent?

PODLASKI: I have. He called me last week. I got a collect call from the prison. And he gave me some very disturbing details about the treatment that he was receiving in his early days there that are very important. The fact that once everyone knows the international "I surrender symbol" is when you put your hands behind your head and say, "I surrender." That doesn't allow officials to go ahead and take you down to the ground and beat with you a bat and dislocate your jaw, and strip you naked and chain you to a bed for 24 hours. I don't think that's a just system at all. And he stayed.

He told me -- this is from his mouth what I'm telling you right now, is what he endured as an American citizen and U.S. Marine, was that he was chained to his bed for so long that when they finally released him at the end of that four weeks that he couldn't even walk. He was crippled from such bad muscle dystrophy and joint pain and not able to fire the muscles in his body. It's absurd. He told me if you take two hands and put them together and take a juice box, is what they were serving him with a pan, so this is like POW Vietnam, you know, prisoner-of-war-camp stuff. Not our neighbors in Mexico where we all go blow our money on Cancun and go, you know, send military funding. Everything we do for Mexico, they are supposed to be our allies, our neighbors, and this is how we treat an American? This is how he has been treated down there.

Yeah, the media has been exposing him and he has been living better the past, what, two weeks? We thought he had PTSD before. Imagine living through something lick that. He is going to have a whole new case of PTSD after being stripped naked and chained to a bed. A piece of me is in still in Mexico right now and I won't rest until he is home.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he talk at all about what happened. I'm looking to see whether he said anything that sort of confirms the investigation we've done or actually mitigates against it? Did he say anything about how he ended up there?

PODLASKI: How he ended up in Mexico?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah.

PODLASKI: Was that he got turned around. He had no intentions of being in Mexico. Like we saw, the 911 tape proves that. Now you said there is a video of him clearly pointing out the weapons. He must be the world's worst smuggler. He might as well have drove up in a panzer tank. You know, he had a pistol in his door pocket. He must be the world's worst gun smuggler. I mean, come on, let's get real here. And then the Mexican authorities want to say that his .45 was stolen from the Marine Corps? I mean, come on. The Marine Corps hasn't issued .45s since 1986.

This is a corruption story from an unjust system. This is ridiculous that there was even a trial. We all know you can buy yourself out of jail in Mexico or pay off an officer. This is ridiculous that this is even a case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just as an aside, speaking about the weapons, we have been seeing and have copies of receipts for the purchases of those three weapons. Just so that -- I don't know anything about the suggestion that it is stolen. We have seen the receipts. At least as far as we know we have got the right material.

But, Sergeant, thank you. And again we want to keep a spotlight on this. We will try to get to the bottom of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. One more thing, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah.

PODLASKI: I just want to say, you know, if Malia and Obama was chained to a bed stripped naked, do you think there would be a trial happening right now? I don't think so. So let's put that up to our administration and let them think about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sergeant, you got the last word. Thank you, sir.

PODLASKI: Thank you.