US Government Has Responsibility to Bring Kidnapped US Marine Veteran Armando Torres Home Safely, Say Ros-Lehtinen and Hinojosa with Colleagues in Letter

Jun 7, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs, Veterans

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is sending a letter to the State Department on Monday with U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa and colleagues, asking for assistance in bringing home kidnapped 25-year old Marine Corps veteran Armando Torres. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“As a US Marine, Armando gave his country his service and devotion so we owe it to him and his family to work to ensure that he is returned to us safe and sound. Armando, his father, and his uncle, were kidnapped last month just across the U.S.-Mexico border and have not been seen or heard from since. Disturbingly, cartels often kidnap landowners and seize property near the border for drug trafficking purposes and it appears likely that is the case here.

“Armando needs the US government to speak loudly and forcefully on his behalf and send a message to his kidnappers that their crimes will not be tolerated. It is my hope that, with the combined efforts of the State Department, FBI, Congress, and the tightknit and patriotic Marine community, Armando’s kidnappers will understand that we will not give up until he and his family are released and brought home safely.”

NOTE:  In addition to Ros-Lehtinen and Hinojosa, the current cosigners of the letter are: U.S. Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Filomen Vela (D-TX), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).

The letter remains open for more Members of Congress to sign and will be sent to the Secretary on Monday.

To view a copy of the letter, please see below:

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write today to request your assistance in bringing home 25-year old United States citizen and Marine Corps veteran, Armando Torres. As you are aware, Armando was kidnapped in La Barranca, Tamaulipas, Mexico on May 14, 2013. While we appreciate efforts by the State Department on his behalf thus far, it is critical that we raise awareness about Armando and send a message to his kidnappers that their actions against a US citizen and Marine Corps veteran have gained the full attention of the United States government and will not be tolerated. We ask that you devote the maximum amount of resources at your disposal to ensure that Armando is brought home as soon as possible and his kidnappers brought to justice.

On May 13, 2013, Armando crossed the International Port of Entry Bridge at Progreso, Texas, and was kidnapped shortly after arriving at his father’s ranch near the U.S.-Mexico border. According to eyewitnesses, several armed men, believed to be members of a drug cartel, forcibly removed Armando, his father, and his uncle from the ranch and have not been seen or heard from since. According to Armando’s family, the cartels may have been targeting Armando’s father’s ranch to use it as a transshipment point for drugs.

Armando served honorably in the United States Marine Corps from 2005 to 2011, including a tour in Africa and as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a US Marine, Armando had not been allowed to cross the border for years because he was on active duty and his trip to Mexico was likely to say farewell to his father prior to moving across the country.

The US Marine community has been working hard to bring attention to Armando’s plight, including working with the mother of US Marine Jon Hammar. As you know, Jon was detained in Mexico last year and eventually released, thanks in part to the combined efforts of the State Department and Congress. We hope that by working together with your office, the FBI, and other authorities, we can also secure the release of Armando.

Armando put his life on the line for our country and we have a responsibility to him and his family to do everything within our power to bring him home safely. We stand ready to work with you to show his kidnappers the full capabilities of the United States government and just how determined we can be on behalf of an American citizen.