Mexico Frees Ex-Marine Who Carried Antique Shotgun over the Border

Jon Hammar was imprisoned for five months, part of that in a maximum security prison

Jon Hammar was imprisoned for five months in Mexico, without his case being brought to court, because he was carrying an antique shotgun when he crossed the border.

The former Marine was arrested in August, however he has been released on Friday, December 21, and has safely returned to the United States.

27-year-old Hammar was headed to Costa Rica with a friend, for a surfing trip, in August this year. According to NY Daily News, he declared the gun as an antique when passing through U.S. Customs in Brownsville, Texas, and was told by Border Protection agents that it was legal for him to pass through Mexico with the weapon.

When they reached Matamoros, in Mexico, both young men were apprehended on charges of possession of a deadly weapon.

Though the friend he was traveling with was released a few days after the incident, Hammar was moved to a maximum security prison, where he stayed for months. CEDES also holds members of well-known Mexican drug cartels.

A four-year veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, his life was threatened and his family received extortion letters. An unidentified sender forwarded a photograph of him, handcuffed to a bed, to his relatives. The picture is attached to this news report.

It appears that authorities responded to the threats on his life by moving him from the main block of the facility, however they were short on jail cells and had to resort to cuffing him to a bed.

Following interventions from the U.S. consulate and politicians such as Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the felony charges were dropped. Had he been convicted, he would have spent 12 years in a Mexican jail.

“No American should be in a Mexican jail for five months without being able to have his case in front of a judge. [...] We’re grateful; this is a good Christmas present,” senator Nelson states.

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