A Marine jailed in Mexico is “losing hope” after a road trip to Costa Rica resulted in what has been described as a catastrophic misunderstanding and imprisonment — and his family has begged for intervention in the case of the vet’s jailing.
27-year-old Jon Hammar is the Marine jailed in Mexico, and his family describes how what was an attempt to restore an antique firearm resulted in the young American vet being chained to a bed, languishing in a Mexican prison. Hammar wasn’t in the wrong as far as being above board and fully honest goes — US Customs and Border Protection even okayed the weapon as he crossed over from Texas to Mexico with a buddy with hopes of restoring the piece.
That was four months ago — and the Marine has been jailed in Mexico ever since. Mom Olivia Hammar, 46, says an inch of length on the too-short barrel is what caused the horrible mix-up. She explains:
“The crux of it is the length of the barrel … There’s an old law on the books that says it can’t be under 25 inches…It’s a 2-foot barrel…It’s strictly a technicality. It’s a glorified BB gun.”
While the story of the Marine jailed in Mexico is tragic, the tale takes an even darker turn, as Hammar’s family explains that their son has been remanded to a corrupt prison and even threatened with death should the family ignore requests to extort them. The New York Daily News explains:
“But the nightmare was just beginning for Hammar, who on Aug. 20 was charged with carrying a deadly weapon and placed in a prison known as CEDES in Matamoros, a notorious facility heavily populated, and run, by Mexico’s dangerous drug cartels … His parents have even received late night phone calls saying he would be killed if they failed to make thousands of dollars in payments into a Western Union account.”
Thus far, US officials have only managed to get the Marine jailed in Mexico placed in solitary to protect him — but have yet to broker a release. However, US Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) spoke about Hammar’s plight on the Senate floor Tuesday, calling upon the government of Mexico to release the vet immediately.
“The Mexican authorities, if it is against the law to take a gun in, even though he had already declared it at U.S. customs, the Mexican authorities could have … sent him back into the United States and told him, ‘Don’t bring your great-grandfather’s shotgun into Mexico.’ … They have put a United States Marine, who has honorably served his country, in a Mexican jail since last August. Now, enough is enough.”
The Marine jailed in Mexico faces 12 years in the country’s prisons if convicted.