Why is the Obama administration doing nothing to free Jon Hammer?
We urge you to call and contact your local representative in Washington, DC and demand that the Obama government work to free former US Marine Jon Hammer.
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.
McDonough, who has Argentine residency in addition to his U.S. citizenship, was freed a few days after the Aug. 13 arrest and walked back to Brownsville.
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.
“He was housed in a wing controlled by the drug cartel,” said Eddie Varon-Levy, a Mexican lawyer hired by the family. He told Reuters the charges in Mexico appear to be an effort to “make an example out of the gringo.”
The Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C. did not immediately respond to a request from the Daily News about Hammar’s case or why he wasn’t turned back at the border. After receiving the death and extortion threats, Hammar’s family made frantic calls to U.S. diplomats who were able to get the former Marine temporarily placed in solitary confinement. source – NY Daily News