Does anyone really need any more reason to AVOID MEXICO for ANY REASON ? Now we have this case that shows the depth of corruption in Mexico and that they will stop at nothing to extort money from elsewhere. This is how desperate the situation is in Mexico and I don’t know why any American would go there at this point. Read the following horrific story and CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN and SENATORS to have them get this poor guy and his grandson RELEASED IMMEDIATELY from the MEXICAN PRISON!
The family of an Arlington man and son blames corruption for their arrest.
ARLINGTON — Edward Chrisman just wanted to take a day trip across the Mexican border with his grandson.
Now, the 88-year-old Arlington man and his grandson are being held in a Mexican federal prison with no release in sight.
Chrisman was spending his winter in Yuma, Ariz., when his grandson, Gary Chrisman Jr., invited him along on a trip to get inexpensive dental treatment.
Mexican police arrested the pair Jan. 8 on pornography charges after Gary Chrisman took a photo of two fully clothed young women in a convenience store in Algodones, Mexico.
For nearly two weeks the Chrismans’ family has been scrambling. Both men say they are innocent. Their relatives are convinced the pair are victims of a corrupt system attempting to shake down the family for cash, said Shannon Perkins, Edward Chrisman’s granddaughter.
She and her father, Gary Chrisman Sr. of Yuma, have traveled across the border daily.
“When they see Americans, they see money,” Perkins said of the Mexican justice officials they’ve met. “Every one of them is crooked.”
Edward Chrisman is an unlikely international criminal.
An Arlington resident for most of his life, Chrisman is described by family as a religious man who has attended the Arlington Assembly of God Church for decades. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked as a civil service machinist for the Navy before retiring years ago.
Edward Chrisman was married to his wife, Norma, for 63 years. He cared for her until her death from Alzheimer’s in 2007.
“How in heaven’s name could this happen in our world today?” asked Kathy Carlin, who works at Chrisman’s church. “Talk about the epitome of innocent. This just blows me away.”
The church of 350 is in shock, she said. Chrisman is “like the church grandpa,” she said.
Here’s what family says happened:
Chrisman and his 40-year-old grandson traveled from Yuma to Algodones, Mexico, eight miles south. The town is known for offering heavily discounted prescriptions and cut-rate medical and dental care.
After Gary Chrisman’s dental work, the pair stopped at a convenience store. Edward Chrisman waited in the car while his grandson went to buy a soda. Gary Chrisman said he asked a family in the convenience store if he could pay them $25 to take their photos. He’d been taking photos of Mexican culture all day with a new camera.
The mother granted permission and took his money. He snapped headshots of her two daughters, 17 and 18, and left the store.
The elder Chrisman never got out of the car.
Local police arrested both men a few minutes later. Their money, passports and other belongings were taken. The pair were placed in a holding cell in Morelos. The charge: “intent for pornography.”
The men later told family that for two days they had nothing to eat and no place to use the bathroom. On the third day, a charitable organization brought them food, blankets and an old mattress to sleep on. Gary Chrisman asked the man delivering the items to contact his family.
Gary Chrisman’s family hired a Mexican lawyer, who seemed confident the charges had no merit. After six days, the case was brought in front of a judge. Both men were asked questions about their annual incomes. The family was told both men were found innocent. The judge said they’d be released the next day.
But when the family came to pick up the men, authorities said the verdict had been changed. Both men were transferred to a prison in Mexicali, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Norte.
Authorities refused to share court documents with the family.
Perkins fears her grandfather won’t survive.
Saturday, the only visiting day, Perkins waited in line for hours to see the two. They were being held in a concrete cell with 40 other prisoners. The room had one toilet and her grandfather had been sleeping on a metal bed frame with no mattress.
He looked dehydrated and disoriented, she said. The prisoners leave the cell twice a day, when they’re shackled together and ordered to move at a jog to the cafeteria. At one point, her grandfather couldn’t keep up and a guard shoved him, Perkins said.
Her grandfather is a soft-spoken, gentle man, she said. He didn’t complain.
“He’s a trouper,” she said.
Family in Yuma have contacted legislators, including Sen. John McCain’s office, and the U.S. consulate in Mexico.
“The U.S. Consulate repeatedly told us all they can do legally is make sure the prisoners are cared for and treated humanely,” Perkins said. “They can’t advise us.”
They also tried to contact Congressman Rick Larson and Sen. Patty Murray.
The consulate has suggested another Mexican lawyer and started an investigation. No trial date has been set. The family has been told the pair could linger in prison for months.
Calls from The Herald to the Mexican Secretary of Public Security in Baja California, the organization that runs the courts, were not answered.
Perkins said that her family already has paid $3,000 to attorneys and others in the Mexican justice system, all of whom offered resolution in the case.
Guilt or innocence seems immaterial, Perkins said, adding “The longer you’re there, the more money you pay.”
La Raza del Noroueste Reporter Alejandro Dominguez contributed to this story.
I, as an American, am sick and tired of tolerating this crap-hole of a country at our southern border. It’s time we get tough with Mexico. How would they like it if we started rounding up Mexicans here illegally and held them in prisons? Oh yeah that’s what ICE is supposed to do.. wouldn’t it be nice if they actually did such a thing????