Another congressman joins calls to free Marine veteran from Tijuana prison

SAN DIEGO - Another local congressman has joined the calls to free Marine reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, who says a wrong turn and missed exit landed him in a Tijuana prison.

The Marine veteran's family says he got lost a month ago while trying to meet a friend for dinner in San Ysidro and ended up at the Mexican port of entry. 

His family told 10News he is known for making wrong turns, especially at night.

Tahmooressi, who had driven to San Diego from Florida to find a job and receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, had all his possessions in his truck and was arrested for having three U.S.-registered firearms.

His supporters showed their support coast-to-coast Monday, beginning with a rally outside the Mexican consulate downtown.

Sam Vranicar was the friend meeting Tahmooressi for dinner.

"I think about him every day," said Vranicar. "I can barely sleep thinking about that. We just need to get him out and get him home."

In Miami, the veteran's mother led a rally and had this message for the Mexican government.

"They are holding a decorated Marine in a jail since April 1 and … he is pleading for his freedom," said Jill Tahmooressi.

Also asking for his freedom is a growing chorus of politicians. Rep. Duncan Hunter has written a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry supporting the Marine veteran's release.

In a new statement, Hunter said, "Andrew is not a weapons trafficker and he's not a criminal. He is a U.S. Marine who had in his possession three legally-owned firearms. If Mexico argues that makes Andrew a criminal, worthy of imprisonment, then a reality check is in order."

10News has learned Rep. Scott Peters has sent his own letter to Kerry. Click here to read Peters' letter.

"We just want to make sure he's treated fairly and we get him home soon," said Peters.

The congressmen may follow in the footsteps of two other former congressmen. In 1999, Brian Bilbray and Duncan Hunter Sr. lobbied Mexican officials to free an on-duty Marine who inadvertently drove into Mexico with weapons.

Amid local rallies, two weeks after the Marine was arrested, he was released.

Tahmooressi's saga is a bit more complicated. U-T San Diego reports he did try to escape before he was shot at and gave himself up.     

Peters tells 10News he will be reaching out to Mexican officials this week in hopes of a face-to-face meeting.

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