A Marine veteran who became part of an international controversy when he was arrested after accidentally crossing into Mexico illegally is in trouble with the law again.
Andrew Tahmooressi, 27, is serving a one-month jail sentence after being arrested Thursday in Dearborn County, Indiana, for possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, court documents say.
His family is trying to find Tahmooressi an attorney, who can re-open the case, said Jonathan Franks, a family spokesman who issued a statement on behalf of Tahmooressi's mother Jill on Monday.
"The family remains gravely concerned about Andrew's mental health condition," Franks said. "They are further concerned, given his documented mental health diagnosis and the police's own claim that he was disoriented upon arrest, that he was allowed to represent himself and plead guilty. The family is in the process of looking into re-opening the case so that a court ordered mental health exam may be conducted."
Tahmooressi made headlines when he was arrested at a Tijuana border checkpoint in March 2013 with three weapons and ammunition in the back of his pickup truck. The former Marine sergeant said he had crossed the border accidentally. He was freed in November 2014 after an outpouring of support from U.S. lawmakers and television and radio personality Montel Williams.
In the early morning hours Thursday, a police officer in Indiana came upon Tahmooressi sitting in a parked pickup truck with the engine running, lights off and the car alarm going off, court documents say. Tahmooressi appeared disoriented when the officer approached, and held his hands up.
The police officer smelled marijuana from truck and described Tahmooressi as being slow to respond to the officer’s questions, having a "lethargic demeanor" and being "unable to give reasonable explanations," the court records say.
During the conversation, Tahmooressi told the police officer that he had a small bag of marijuana in his truck, which he had been smoking, the court records say. A search of the truck and Tahmooressi turned up a bag of marijuana, a half-smoked marijuana cigarette and rolling papers.
Tahmooressi pleaded guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor offenses and was awarded two days' credit toward his 30-day sentence, the court records say.
This May 3, 2014, file photo shows Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi when was being held at Tijuana's La Mesa Penitentiary.
Photo Credit: Alejandro Tamayo/UT San Diego via AP
When he was jailed in Mexico, one of Tahmooressi's strongest supporters was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who is also a Marine veteran. A Mexican judge ultimately made the decision to release Tahmooressi, who had served in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, due to Tahmooressi's mental state.
Hunter then invited Tahmooressi, to attend President Obama's 2015 State of the Union address.
"Andrew fought for this country as a Marine, and sometimes those experiences can cause difficulty in the years that follow and for some, over an entire lifetime," Hunter said in a statement on Monday. "On top of it all, Andrew was incarcerated in a Mexican prison for a simple mistake and he felt abandoned by his government. Andrew deserves our support and respect—and I'm hoping he gets the help he needs."