After months in a Mexican prison, Marine veteran Andrew Tahmooressi was ordered “his immediate and absolute freedom” by a Mexican judge, the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting.
Sgt. Tahmooressi had been held in El Hongo State Penitentiary after he was arrested March 31 in possession of two loaded firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
But Tahmooressi, who served two tours in Afghanistan and had recently moved to the San Diego from Florida, claimed he ended up in Mexico accidentally after getting lost on the highway.
Mexican authorities did not believe his story and brought him up on illegal weapons possession charges, which could have earned the 26-year-old between seven and 21 years in prison.
Tahmooressi’s imprisonment sparked a national outcry, mainly from Republicans and veterans groups — but also from some Democrats and television host Montel Williams, who is also a veteran.
California U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter was the first in Congress to plead for Tahmooressi’s release, calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to engage in diplomatic talks with Mexican officials.
Bill Richardson, the Democratic former governor of New Mexico, also lent support to Tahmooressi, visiting him at his Mexican prison last week.
Friday’s decree was issued by Federal District Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo.
Tahmooressi’s family confirmed the release on Friday.
— 10News (@10News) November 1, 2014