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Mexico frees U.S. Marine detained for seven months on weapons charges

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Posted at 7:19 AM, Nov 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-01 07:19:58-04

(CNN) — U.S. Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Paul Tahmooressi arrived in Miami on Saturday after he was freed from detention in Mexico, where he was held for seven months.

Tahmooressi boarded a flight from San Diego late Friday, shortly after his release.

“It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican jail,” his relatives said in a statement.

Tahmooressi was held on weapons charges after his arrest March 31 at a checkpoint in Tijuana, Mexico.

At the time, Mexican customs agents found three firearms in his truck, including a .45-caliber pistol, a pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.

Mexico’s strict federal gun laws prohibit anyone from illegally bringing weapons into the country.

“The family is overjoyed. They are asking for privacy at this time,” family spokesman Jonathan Franks said Friday night.

The court said it found no cause to prosecute him on charges of carrying two firearms used exclusively by the military, possessing cartridges used exclusively by the military and carrying a firearm without a license

It also recommended he be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In May, his mother said he served with the Marines in Afghanistan, and had moved to the San Ysidro, California, area to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He has unresolved, or untreated PTSD, and he cannot get the cognitive therapy behavior that veterans of America receive … in a Mexico jail, where there is no such thing,” Jill Tahmooressi said earlier this year.

Since his arrest, he has maintained that he took a wrong turn on the California side of the border and accidentally crossed into Tijuana.

He has described a suicide attempt with a shattered light bulb after being punched, slapped, cursed at, deprived of water and food, and shackled to a bed with a four-point restraint in a Mexican prison.

Conditions improved after media coverage of his plight, he said.

Mexican prison authorities have denied the abuse allegations.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement said Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, visited him last week at El Hongo federal prison in Mexico and was instrumental in securing his release.