Are Mexican border arrests common for US travelers?

The arrest of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi for accidentally crossing into Mexico with three registered guns is not the first time this situation has happened with members of the military.

Philip Holloway, former U.S. Navy JAG and current criminal defense attorney told arrests like Tahmooressi happen frequently in San Diego and in Texas, where active-duty service members cross the border without knowing they are actually in Mexico.

“[They] were eventually released because under Mexican law the absence of an intention to violate the law or enter the country can be considered on grounds for an exception to the general rule, which is harsh punishment for possession of firearms in Mexico,” Holloway said.

He says other travelers are also at risk of mistakenly driving crossing the border like Tahmooressi.

“It’s difficult to tell preciously where the border is when you’re driving across that border with [Tijuana],” Holloway said. “The best thing someone can do if they find themselves in this situation is stop – don’t go into the country.”

Holloway says on a recent trip to Mexico, he was told about the difficulties Americans can face dealing with the country’s law enforcement.

“We were told that if we found ourselves inside a Mexican jail that we might be there for a very long time,” Holloway said.  “Mexico tends to want to remind the United States that it is a sovereign entity and it’s very willing to enforce its own laws.”

Watch the full interview with Philip Holloway above.