- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2014

A small group of demonstrators rallied Thursday outside the Mexican Embassy to protest for the release of a former Marine who is in a Mexican prison on firearms charges.

Organized by the Conservative Victory PAC, the protesters demanded that former Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi be released from prison in Tecate by Sunday or else they will stage protests along the U.S.-Mexico border and lobby businesses and citizens to boycott Mexico. They carried picket signs saying “Free our Marine” and “1 marine for 20 million illegals.”

Mr. Tahmooressi, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, accidentally crossed into Mexico border with three legally owned firearms. When he alerted Mexican officials of his predicament, he was taken into custody April 1 and has since been detained there.

He reportedly suffered a neck wound and threats of torture at a Tijuana jail before being transferred to El Hongo prison near Tecate, where he is under medical observation and awaiting trial.

Conservative Victory PAC President Chuck Floyd said his group is “fed up with the wait.”

Ariel Moutsatsos, the Mexican Embassy’s minister for public affairs, tried to calm the protesters Thursday, saying “this is not a war.”

“Regardless of intentions, Mr. Tahmooressi crossed into Tijuana with weapons. Anyone carrying weapons is committing a crime,” Mr. Moutsatsos said. “He crossed into Mexico as a tourist. He was not on active duty, and he has accepted he crossed four times prior to that.”

The diplomat said that signs near the border are clear and the U.S. government would take the same actions that Mexico has taken. He added that Mr. Tahmooressi is now “in the hands of the judicial system.”

Mexico is just trying to make a statement that they can enforce the borders if they want to,” said Brad Botwin, director of Help Save Maryland who participated in the protest. “They could have easily just sent him back across. The Canadians would never pull a stunt like this.”

Lewis Winnecour, an 82-year-old Korean War veteran, took a bus from Pittsburgh to join the protest.

“I’m an old soldier who still believes in his oath,” Mr. Winnecour said. “I feel bad for him. I am of the opinion that no one’s crazy enough to want to cross into Mexico. I believe if the president picked up the phone, we’d probably get him back, but citizens have to take action when the government won’t.”

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