Friends, family call for the release of ex-Marine jailed in Mexico after trying to declare an antique shotgun
Jon Hammar was en route to Costa Rica for a surfing trip when he cleared the gun with U.S. customs and was told he could do the same in Mexico. Four moths later, he’s still behind bars in a notorious prison and is ‘losing hope.’
Jon Hammar, a former U.S. Marine jailed in northern Mexico, is seen in an undated photograph provided by his family. Hammar was heading to Costa Rica on a surfing expedition when he was arrested for “possession of a deadly weapon” because of the length of the barrel of his shotgun, even though he registered the weapon with U.S. officials before entering Mexico.
An ex-Marine who survived dangerous patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan is now “chained to a bed” in a notorious Mexican prison after a road trip to Costa Rica went terribly wrong, his friends and family say.
A chorus of supporters are calling on the Mexican government to release Jon Hammar, 27, who was jailed in August for carrying an antique shotgun that he believed could be legally registered in Mexico.
Hammar, of Palmetto Bay, Fla., was headed to Costa Rica for a surfing trip to try and recover from post-traumatic stress after four years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The only time Hammar is not losing his mind is when he’s on the water,” fellow Marine veteran Ian McDonough, who was arrested with Hammar during the August incident but later released by Mexican authorities, told McClatchy newspapers.
Hammar and McDonough had stocked up a used Winnebago with surfboards and camping supplies and had just crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Mexico, where they were detained.
Hammar had registered the shotgun, a Sear & Roebuck model that once belonged to his great-grandfather, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the U.S. side of the border.
After being told by U.S. agents the shotgun posed no problem and could be reigstered in Mexico, Hammar and McDonough crossed the border, tried to declare the weapon, and found themselves separated and behind bars.
“The crux of it is the length of the barrel,” his mother, Olivia Hammar, 46, told Reuters. “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,” she said.