December 12th, 2012

Marine Vet Jailed In Mexico Losing Hope


USMC Vet Jon Hammar

USMC Vet Jon Hammar


Parents of ex-U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico say he’s losing hope,0,7764334.story

Tom Brown * Reuters * 7:51 p.m. CST, December 10, 2012


MIAMI (Reuters) – The mother of a former U.S. Marine jailed in a notoriously violent corner of northern Mexico said on Monday that her son was losing hope after being arrested in August for possessing a shotgun that was a family heirloom.

Jon Hammar, 27, was heading to Costa Rica to go surfing when he crossed into Matamoros, Mexico, from Brownsville, Texas, in a beat-up old Winnebago motor home he and a friend bought especially for the trip.

He had registered the shotgun with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the U.S. side of the border, declaring he planned to take it with him into Mexico.

Despite being told that the shotgun, a Sear & Roebuck model that once belonged to his great-grandfather, posed no problem Hammar was arrested as soon as he crossed into Mexico. The arrest came when he tried to register the gun with Mexican customs officials, his parents and their Mexican attorney told Reuters.

“The crux of it is the length of the barrel,” said his mother, Olivia Hammar, 46, of Palmetto Bay, Florida. “There’s an old law on the books that says it can’t be under 25 inches,” she said. “It’s a 2-foot barrel and it can’t be under 25 inches … . It’s strictly a technicality.”

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said Hammar was charged with possession of a deadly weapon. And the family lawyer, Eddie Varon-Levy, said Hammar faces up to 12 years in prison if he is found guilty.

Making matters worse, Hammar suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the death of a fellow Marine who was killed by a sniper’s bullet when the two served together in Falluja, Iraq. He had just completed treatment for PTSD at a center for veterans in California last year, before getting caught up in his misadventure in Matamoros.

His ordeal there, in one of the most violent corners of Mexico, has included being shackled to a bed and receiving death threats and extortion demands from drug cartel gangsters who run the prison known as CEDES in Matamoros like their personal fiefdom, Hammar’s parents say.


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3 Responses to “Marine Vet Jailed In Mexico Losing Hope”

  1. 1
    Texx Says:

    Strange … especially since I know for a fact that no US government agent on the Mexican border would EVER tell an American citizen that it was okay to take a gun or ammunition across. I go over the border from Texas at several points every year and right in the middle of every crossing is a big sign clearly stating that it is illegal to bring guns or ammunition in under ANY circumstances.

    I sympathize with Jon Hammar, but somebody’s not getting the story right here.

  2. 2
    Elias Alias Says:

    Uhm, maybe they thought he was working with Fast and Furious? Stranger things have happened.

    I really don’t want to argue with you, but things are not always cut in stone.

    I mean, how in heck did thousands of guns get across the border when ATF wanted to get them across?
    Somehow, ATF’s straw buyers on Stateside were able to drive those guns across the border, so we have to wonder if some of the Border guys were alerted to let some guns “walk” across the border, right?

    On another note, to prove that things are not always the way we perceive them, I recall once over forty years ago when I hitch-hiked from Juarez, Mexico, into El Paso, Texas, with a .22 caliber hand gun in my backpack. The border people on the U.S. side strip searched me, spread out my sleeping bag, shined a flashlight into my canteen, undid my dirty socks and blue jeans, asked me where I got the gun, and when I told them I had brought it from my hometown in Tennessee they told me to square away my stuff and be on my way. Like I said, that was over forty years ago, and I’m sure that things have changed since then, but at that time the Border guys had no problem at all with a hitch-hiker totin’ a hand piece across from Mexico to Stateside.

  3. 3
    Elias Alias Says:

    Got this in email today, so am posting here in case this may be helpful. This is a link to a petition, for anyone who cares to take a minute to sign on. Thank you!


    Note to forward to your friends:


    I just signed the petition “The Government of Mexico: Free Jon Hammar” on

    It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:



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