TOWNHALL.COM by KATIE PAVLICH & CBSMIAMI by DAVID SUTTA
Marine Held in Mexican Prison, State Department Does Nothing
News Editor, Townhall Dec 14, 2012 08:18 AM EST
Jon Hammar, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, is being held in a notorious Mexican prison where Zetas gang members hold power. His crime? Declaring an antique shotgun to Mexican officials after registering the gun with U.S. Customs Agents on his way to Costa Rica. Hammar has been in a prison in Mexico for months now and this week, his parents got an extortion call demanding they wire thousands of dollars to the prison. Hammar spoke to his parents on the phone, saying he thought he was going to be killed. Hammar has been tortured during his time in the prison. He’s been beaten and chained to a bed. Mexican officials have justified Hammar’s arrest, saying it came in accordance with gun laws in the country, have no plans to release him and the State Department has done nothing to get Hammar released. He could face as many as 15 years in prison. More from NY Daily News:
The father of an ex-Marine jailed in Mexico after trying to declare an antique gun at the border says his son is concerned the attention his case has received could make him a target in his notorious lockup.
Jon Hammar, 27, was able to make a brief phone call Wednesday night to his father, Jon Hammar Sr., from his cell at the CEDES prison in Matamoros, Mexico.
“He’s just very concerned,” Hammar told the Daily News. “There’s a lot of activity (in the prison) because we’ve gone public,” his father said.
The younger Hammar, who spent four years in Iraq and Afghanistan, is worried he might be seen as a troublemaker as his family and lawmakers put pressure on the Mexican government to drop his four-month-old case.
Calling it a Catch-22, Hammar’s father said the support of lawmakers and the public for his son’s case could be instrumental in his release. But the publicity inside the jail could make the veteran American Marine unpopular.
“Some of the guards are saying ‘why are these people on TV about you? What’s going on?’” Hammar told his father.
CEDES, where Hammar is held, is one of the most notorious prisons in Mexico. Its population includes criminals linked to Mexico’s dangerous drug cartels. They are also widely believed to influence what goes on in the facility.
Hammer was told as long as he declared his shot gun to Mexican customs authorities that carrying the gun to Costa Rica was legal. Apparently that wasn’t the case however considering Mexican authorities, including Mexican President Felipe Calderon, encourage their citizens to break U.S. law on a daily basis with illegal immigration and rock throwing at U.S. Border Patrol Agents, Hammer should be released immediately.
More from Hannity last night:
Parents Enlist Help To Free Ex-Marine From Mexican Prison
December 13, 2012 5:05 PM
MIAMI (CBSMiami) –
A Palmetto Bay man who survived wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is now locked in a legal battle South of the border.
Jon Hammar, a 27-year old former Marine, was arrested this summer in Mexico because he carried an antique shotgun over the border. His parents said it was an honest mistake and are now enlisting help to free him.
Thursday morning they, along with their supporters, gathered at U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s office in South Florida.
John’s mother, Olivia, said he’s not doing well.“In addition to being somewhat hopeless he is in enraged, and hyper vigilant and in combat mode, which is what he was trying to recover from,” said Hammar.
The Hammars went public with their story a week ago, four months after Jon was locked up, because all diplomatic efforts seemed to be getting nowhere.
Hammar’s troubles began in August when he took off with a buddy to Costa Rica to surf and deal with post traumatic stress from the war.
Once across the border, though, he was immediately arrested, placed in a notoriously dangerous prison some say is run by a drug cartel and charged with bringing a firearm into the country – a federal crime.
“We started receiving calls from members of the cartel saying, we have your son and we’re going to kill him. And then they’d put him on the phone, and I realize that they really did,” said Olivia Hammar.
The rifle, a family heirloom, was actually cleared by U.S. Customs.
“Customs weighed the gun, measured the gun, I think took pictures of the gun and gave him paperwork to fill out and then he took that paperwork across to the Mexican side, declared the gun and was immediately arrested,” said Olivia Hammar.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy stressed that possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the army in Mexico is a federal crime and must automatically be prosecuted.
“All it is, is that the barrel of the rifle was this length or the other length. It was not like he was trying to start a militia,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
Olivia said her son spends his days shacked to his bed, reading a bible.
“He’s hanging in, he’s tough. A lesser person would have pleaded guilty. Because they have brought him in without counsel to courts and harassed and told him you need to just plead guilty and he’s said ‘I’m not doing it’. God bless the Marine Corp for doing that,” said Olivia Hammar.
His friends have started a petition requesting his release.
“We are not going to rest until he comes home,” said Jessica Fernandez, a friend.
More than 9,000 people have signed the petition but it’s still unclear whether going public with the situation will help.
“He is just a really tough situation. It’s public in Mexico at this point so we are just praying for his protection and is release,” said Olivia.
Ros-Lehtinen said she plans to talk with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week and the hope is to bring Hammar home by Christmas.
“It has to happen,” said Olivia Hammar. “This is going to be, this is going to get you home.”
Hammar is due in court late next month. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.
- Marine Held in Mexican Prison, State Department Does Nothing (conservativebyte.com)
- Parents fear for jailed Marine son (foxnews.com)
- Former Marine’s family, friends call for his release from Mexico jail (miamiherald.com)
- Parents of Marine Jailed in Mexico, Jon Hammar, Plea With President Obama to Help Their Son (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Marine Being Held In Mexican Prison For Bringing Unloaded Shotgun Into Country (tampa.cbslocal.com)
- Family, friends of former U.S. Marine detained in Mexico call for his release (miamiherald.com)
- Antique shotgun lands Marine in Mexico jail (cnn.com)
- Parents Enlist Help To Free Ex-Marine From Mexican Prison (miami.cbslocal.com)
- Parents fight for release of Marine veteran son jailed in Mexico (foxnews.com)
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