SAN DIEGO - A decorated U.S. Marine, Andrew Tahmooressi, found himself crossing into Mexico with all his possessions in his pickup truck, including three firearms.
He had missed the turn-around before the international border and was soon arrested for possession of those weapons and thrown into a Tijuana jail.
Tahmooressi told UT-TV in a jailhouse interview that it has been a frightening ordeal.
"I was nervous, you know, because I was missing my family," he said. "Seemed like no one really cared for me there too much, so it didn't seem like I had any help at all. And, the people in there, they started messing with me. They like, uh, they tried to make me more scared than I already was. They weren't helping me at all."
By phone from Florida, his mother Jill told of his calling her, expressing fear for his life.
"He said, 'There are hitmen in here who have told me they're going to kill me tonight,'" she said.
She could hear the fear in his voice.
"He said, 'Mom, I wanted to let you know I’m not going to make it through the night,'" she said.
After a sleepless night, Tahmooressi said he made a failed bid to escape.
"From this roof, I climbed another roof, I get on another roof. And then I start climbing a fence. I go underneath this barbed wire, down the other side of the fence, onto another roof. And then up like three more fences, underneath barbed wired, and then I was trying to get on the roof, and that's when they shot at me with a shot gun," he said.
Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Scott Peters have written letters to the U.S. Secretary of State, hoping there can be diplomatic intervention. There have also been rallies on Tahmooressi's behalf, coast-to-coast.
Locked up since March 31, Tahmooressi is not scheduled for a hearing until May 28, unless the U.S. and Mexico make a deal.