OTR Interviews

Exclusive: The real reason the our Marine jailed in Mexico had guns in his car

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi explains why he had weapons in his car at the time he made a wrong turn into Mexico -- and a close friend sheds light why he didn't intend to have the guns in his vehicle to begin with. #MarineHeldinMexico

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: U.S. Marine talking only ON THE RECORD. Sergeant Tahmooressi had three guns in his truck. The big question, why were those guns in his truck?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. ANDREW TAHMOORESSI, U.S. MARINE IMPRISONED IN MEXICO: I parked my truck and I get out and they asked me what is all this stuff you have back here, because I had all my possessions in my truck, and minus my motorcycle that I left at my friend's house in Ocean Beach. And I told him, I said, I have all my stuff back here, plus I have three guns. But I didn't mean to be in Mexico. It was an accident. And there was no place to do a U-turn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: You will hear more from Sergeant Tahmooressi in just minutes. But right now, you will hear from the friend who Sergeant Tahmooressi just mentioned, Corporal Sam Vranicar. He served with sergeant Tahmooressi. He's also his best friend and wanted to support Sgt. Tahmooressi when he moved to California. So Corporal Vranicar invited him to stay in his home. While the Marine was living with him, the issue of those guns in his truck came up.

By the way, if you listen to this, go to Gretawire.com and sign that official White House petition to free Sergeant Tahmooressi. So go to GretaWire.com, but listen to interview, too.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you know that he had guns?

CPL. SAM VRANICAR, U.S. MARINE AND BEST FRIEND OF TAHMOORESSI: Yeah. Yeah. What I want to get across, too, is he didn't just have guns. It was everything he owned. Everything he owned was in his truck, all of his clothes, everything. And you, for an example, when he would want to do his laundry, he would bring his clothes into our house, do his laundry and bring his clean clothes back out to his car because he avoided clutter in our house. He wanted to avoid the clutter. And he asked me if he could bring his guns into our house and, you know, we live in a little two bedroom in San Diego with two kids. There is no space for any more guns in our house. And you know, we knew he had guns. And, you know, I didn't see that as a problem keeping them in his car, but just the wrong turn.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, just to understand it. He kept his guns in the car because, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but because of the size of your house and you have kids and a wife in the house. Is that right?

VRANICAR: Right, right. I don't see -- I didn't see it as a problem him carrying his weapons in his car, but, you know, a simple wrong turn in Tijuana brings him to being, you know, chained up to a bed naked and putting, you know, manipulating restraints and beaten by guards. I don't understand how that got him, you know, to where he is at now. He feels completely helpless where he is at, you know. It's just ridiculous from one wrong turn to, you know, joint restraints. It's -- I can't imagine it. You know, I can't imagine how he feels.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you learn, how did you learn that he was arrested and what did you think?

VRANICAR: We got a call from Andrew's mom the next day, the day after he got arrested. And my wife and I -- we kind of laughed at it because we were like oh, that's the Andrew move, he made the wrong turn and end up in Mexico. It's, you know, he's not the best guy with directions. I know personally. But, yeah, we kind of just laughed about it and didn't think it was as big of a situation as it turned out to be. And we thought it would just be oh, you made the wrong turn, just turn around and go back to San Diego. Andrew is not the guy to, you know, want to be smuggling weapons or crossing into Mexico for, you know, for harmful reasons. All of his guns were registered. He must be the world's worst gun smuggler if he wanted to bring three registered weapons into Mexico and show them to the federal or Mexican soldiers, you know.

VAN SUSTEREN: I spoke to Andrew and at some point I asked him about what prison was like there. And I knew that he had been chained in the very beginning. I knew he was in a very tough prison. And he had sort of an attitude like well, it's OK, you know, I'll get through this. And I actually thought, you know, I thought that -- I wondered if that was sort of a marine talking to me. And I was sort of curious. Have you spoken to him and you have gotten a sense of what he is going through there?

VRANICAR: Yeah. We've spoken to him about 10 times, and 10 times since he has been to Mexico, and, yeah. He has that kind of keep calm and carry on attitude. You know, whatever, it's always been worse kind of mind set. And that's just not how it should be approached, you know. The topic of him being chained up to a bed should have been brought up a while ago. But, finally he is getting, you know, getting to tell us his story and let everybody know how he's been treated and that is, that is the mind set, you know. Keep pushing on. It's -- somebody has always had it worse than I have. And that's probably how he's thinking towards this situation. And we need to see past that and realize that everything that has been done to him has been inhumane for the wrong reasons. If he was guilty, even if he was guilty, he shouldn't be treated like that. You know, it's unjust.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any sort of sense of what he is -- I mean, do you know what he's feeling? I mean, is he candid with you on these phone calls you've had with him? How tough is this for him?

VRANICAR: It seems pretty tough. I mean, how would you feel? I mean, how would you feel if you were tied up like that? I'd imagine it would be pretty bad. You know, with the PTSD that he already has right now, dealing from war, you know, he took 10 steps forward when he came to San Diego. Getting treatment. He got treatment. And he took steps forward to help himself. And since him being in Mexico. It's just a thousand steps back, you know, he's got a whole other issues that he has to deal with now because of this wrong turn and it's so wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: And your thought this is injustice or, what?

VRANICAR: Of course, yeah. Yeah. I just can't imagine, you know, what's going through his mind, you know. And I think its funny how our government decides to help all these other foreign countries and, you know, at the drop of a dime, we go out and help everybody else but we can't help one of our vets. Really. You know, and Obama administration speaks it talks about helping out veterans like there is one veteran that you could clearly help out and make an example of and nobody is doing anything. You know, you have John -- like Congressman Duncan Hunter has tried to contact John Kerry either government officials have tried to contact this guy. And he just ignores it. I don't get how you get paid from our tax dollars to be doing nothing about a situation that people are seeing this and Americans are getting angry.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sam, thank you for joining us.