(MEXICO CITY) — U.S. Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is back in a Mexican jail Thursday morning, ordered by a judge to remain in custody on gun charges near Tijuana, where he’s been locked up for 102 days.
A closed evidentiary hearing that lasted more than eight hours on Wednesday was Tahmooressi’s first chance to plead his case in court.
The California native, 25, was arrested on March 31, after he says he got lost and crossed the Mexican border with three firearms in his pickup truck.
Though cameras weren’t allowed in court, Tahmooressi’s mother Jill says she was able to spend 20 minutes with her son after the hearing.
“He’s very strong. He’s very strong and positive. And he’s confident,” she said.
The State Department is actively engaged in the case. Consular officers have visited Tahmooressi 13 times, and 71 members of Congress have signed a bi-partisan letter asking the judge for leniency.
Unlike American law, in Mexico one is guilty until proven innocent and the decision rests solely in the judge’s hands.
But Fernando Benetiz, Tahmooressi’s newly-hired attorney, is hopeful.
“We feel the hearing was a success, and we feel we are finally on the right track,” Benetiz said.
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