The U.S. Marine held in Mexico for nearly three months told Fox News his captors cruelly tightened his shackles to the point his wrists and ankles bled because they were angry with him following an escape attempt.
“It was punishment,” Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi told Greta Van Susteren in a phone interview that aired Monday night. “They were mad. They were angry with me, and everything they did to me was out of anger. It was just another thing they did, to kind of say, ‘Hey, screw you, buddy.’”
Tahmooressi, who was arrested March 31 after mistakenly crossing the border from California into Mexico with three registered guns in his pickup truck, said he is now in a safer prison, which he even described as “peaceful.” The Marine, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, said he is better able to cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder in the state-run prison in Tecate, but made it clear he wants to come home.
“Oh yes, definitely,” he said. “Please, get me out of here.”
While initially imprisoned in Tijuana, Tahmooressi, of Weston, Fla., said he was kept in a cell with 20 other prisoners and faced constant threats.
When Tahmooressi realized that he was entering Mexico with the weapons at the poorly-marked crossing at the San Ysidro checkpoint, he immediately called 911, but was told by American officials that since he was in Mexico there was nothing they could do to help him. One Mexican customs official reportedly was going to accompany Tahmooressi back across the border but was quickly overruled by a soldier.
Mexican authorities have accused Tahmooressi of changing his story, possibly over whether he had ever been to Tijuana. By his own admission, Tahmooressi acknowledged at the border he had registered weapons and that he had no intention of even entering Mexico. That should have allowed him to turn around, according to U.S. border officials, who told Fox News the entire ordeal could have been stopped with a little discretion and a phone call or two.
Tahmooressi, who fellow Marines described as selfless and disciplined, had a court hearing last month, where it was announced that his family had changed lawyers. No new court dates have been set. If convicted, Tahmooressi could face 20 years in prison.