WESTON, Florida (AP) – A US Marine veteran who fought in Afghanistan returned home to Florida on Saturday after spending eight months in a Mexican jail for crossing the border with loaded guns, a case that led US politicians to bring intense pressure on Mexico to release him.
Family spokesman Jon Franks said the private plane carrying Marine Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi, his mother and supporters – including former New Mexico Gov Bill Richardson – landed at a South Florida airport about 6 am.
Tahmooressi was freed Friday night and reunited with his mother, Jill, and then boarded a flight in San Diego to Florida.
“They’re just spending time together, trying to figure out what’s next,” Franks told reporters at a hotel in this suburb west of Fort Lauderdale. “They need some time to decompress.” Neither Tahmooressi nor any family members attended the news conference.
Tahmooressi, 26, has said he took a wrong turn on a California freeway that funnelled him into a Tijuana port of entry with no way to turn back, and that he had no intention of illegally bringing guns into Mexico. His detention brought calls for his freedom from US politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns. A US congressional committee held a hearing on the case.
In Mexico, possession of weapons restricted for use by the Army is a federal crime, and the country has been tightening up its border checks to stop the flow of US weapons that have been used by drug cartels.