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La Mesa man, security guard held in Tijuana on gun charge

Family: man attempted to make U-turn at border checkpoint after missing exit
La Mesa man, security gun held in Tijuana on gun charge
Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-17 21:08:17-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A La Mesa man and security guard remains in a Tijuana holding facility, under arrest after unintentionally ending up at the border.

“My fear is not being able see my son again,” said Jackie Anderson.

For Anderson, the last three weeks have been a blur of worry and tears.

“I felt helpless, because my son has never been in any trouble,” said Anderson.

On March 23, her 28-year-old son Rodney Dantzler Jr, of La Mesa, who works in private security, finished a shift and got on I-5, headed to a friend's home in Chula Vista.

“When he realized he missed the exit. he called the guy and said, ‘I passed the exit,’ and those two were on phone together,” said Anderson.

The friend told Dantzler as he got to the border to request of Mexican officials to make a U-turn.

Anderson says Rodney wasn't allowed to turn around and was sent to secondary inspection. Inside the trunk was a gun Rodney was licensed to carry in San Diego.

“He said I'm trying to get to friend’s house. They said, ’No, we’re arresting you for bringing a gun into Mexico,’” said Anderson.

A week later, Anderson caught a glimpse of her son at a hearing in Tijuana. She worries about how he's being treated.

“Just prayed. Don’t know what to do. Oh my God, I don’t know what to do,” said Anderson.

She says the U.S. Embassy has given her a list of lawyers, but she has yet to call them.

“I'm a single mom of 4, and I just don't have the income,” said Anderson.

The case bears similarities to the story of Marine reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, jailed after missing an exit and ending up a the border with three guns in 2014. Amid pressure from American politicians, a Mexican judge freed him seven months later.

Last June, Air Force veteran Chris Chavez was jailed, while crossing with a gun. After $15,000 in legal expenses, he was released in September after a plea bargain.

Anderson hopes her son, father to a 6-year-old boy, will be released far sooner.

“It’s heartbreaking. We’ve told his son that daddy is playing basketball,” said Anderson. “I would love for my son to come home. I would like for him to come.”

Anderson says U.S. officials made a welfare check inside the Tijuana facility last week, but she hasn't heard how that visit went.

Citing privacy concerns, State Department officials declined to comment on the case.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Anderson obtain additional legal counsel.