Marine Moved to “Safer” Tecate Prison, Release Effort Grows

The effort to free Andrew Tahmooressi has made it to the desk of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

A U.S. Marine veteran jailed in Mexico on a weapons charge has been moved to a new location in the prison system as the efforts to release him grow. 

Marine Reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, is now in the El Hongo II penitentiary, about 40 minutes east of Tijuana.

His mother Jill told NBC 7 that the Tecate prison is safer for him. He is in a private cell -- unshackled -- and has a 24/7 armed guard protecting him. She added that her son is thankful for all the support he's been given. 

Some of that support continues to come from Congressman Duncan Hunter, who most recently sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. 

In it, Hunter requests that the U.S. suspend cooperation with the Mexican military until Tahmooressi is freed.

About 7,700 people are following his Facebook Page, "Free USMC Sgt. Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail."

The Marine veteran also met with members of the Baja Image Committee a couple days before his move.

Daniel Torres with the committee says Tahmooressi is optimistic about his case.

"He has good hopes because him and his family are working with local attorneys, and they have given them basically good news as to this," said Torres in a phone interview.

Jill said she ends each call with her son with a prayer for his expeditious return to freedom.

Tahmooressi was arrested on April 1 after driving his truck into Tijuana at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. 

He says he got lost and accidentally crossed the border with three guns in his truck. Mexican authorities arrested him for bringing firearms into the country.

While in Tijuana jail, Tahmooressi reportedly was shackled to a cot with his limbs restrained following an escape attempt and suffered a knife wound to the neck. 

His first court hearing is scheduled for May 28. 

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