White House says Kerry discussed jailed Marine in Mexico with officials at 'highest level' there

The White House said Friday night in response to an online petition to free a U.S. Marine jailed since March in Mexico, that Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to Mexican officials “at the highest level” and authorities there had been “very willing to engage on the issue.”

However, there was no indication of tangible progress in obtaining the release of 26-year-old Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been in custody since he accidentally drove into the country with three legally purchased firearms after he made a wrong turn.

His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, said in response to the White House statement, “the family is grateful that the White House is actively urging Mexico to expeditiously proceed through the judicial due process on behalf of Andrew.”

“The U.S. State Department continues to provide extensive consular assistance to Mr. Tahmooressi, and will do so until his case is resolved,” the White House said in response to the “We the People” petition.

It also said Mexico had provided “prompt and continued consular access and visitations.”

It added, “We will continue to monitor the case and work with the Mexican authorities as this case proceeds through the Mexican judicial system. We continue to urge the Mexican authorities to process this case expeditiously.”

However, no new hearing dates have been announced in his case.

Jill Tahmooressi said earlier this month that her son, who suffers from combat-related PTSD after two harrowing tours of duty in Afghanistan, is struggling to remain optimistic for a quick resolution to the ordeal. The case could languish for months, according to lawyers.

"He's despondent," she said.

Complicating Tahmooressi's plight at the time of his arrest was that he had military-grade weapons and ammunition, as defined by Mexican statute. Tahmooressi’s lawyer maintains the weapons in the truck were there because he had recently moved from Florida, and had all of his possessions, including the legally-purchased weapons, in his vehicle when he was stopped at the border.

Since his arrest, there have been dozens of appeals to the U.S. State Department and Mexican officials, led by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to secure Tahmooressi's release.