Marine languishes in Mexican jail

| December 8, 2012

A whole bunch of you sent us links to the story of Jon Hammar, a Marine and Fallujah veteran who is stuck in a Mexican jail when he and a friend had plans for a motor trip to Costa Rica in a used RV. Jon had been warned not to bring his .410 shotgun, but he brought it anyway. He filled out paperwork to bring the weapon across the frontier, but he was apprehended by Mexican authorities.

On Aug. 18, Mexican prosecutors leveled serious charges against Hammar. Curiously, it wasn’t the type of shotgun that broke Mexican law. It was the length of the barrel, which the formal citation said was shorter than 25 inches, although a discrepancy has emerged over how the barrel was measured.

Making matters worse is the nature of Hammar’s confinement, a matter that’s drawn the attention of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Hammars’ local representative.

“His family has described a very disturbing situation that includes their son being chained to a bed in a very small cell and receiving calls from fellow inmates threatening his life if they did not send them money,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The family also says that the jail where their son is being held is controlled by the dreaded and brutal Zetas drug cartel. The family wants their son back home, and I will do my best to help them.”

Now, if Hammar had just told the border patrol that he was with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and that he was delivering weapons to the drug cartels he might have got away with it.

Since I have spent some time in jail south of the border myself, I can absolutely sympathize with Hammar. I guess the lesson here is never take weapons into Mexico, even if you think you’re within the law.

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    It’s too late to hope that he is quickly released. He’s been in the cockroach hotel since August. Maybe if we send a note to encourage his representative to keep at it, it would help. It most certainly would be especially helpful if TAH Florida residents were to do so.

  2. Hondo says:

    Jonn’s right: taking any kind of firearm to Mexico is a prescription for absolute disaster.

    What’s not as well known is that ammunition is similarly an extreme “no-no”. While I lived in the southwest, there was at least one case of a gringo getting in deep trouble for ammo found in his vehicle on entry to Mexico (he didn’t have a firearm). I want to say the quantity was literally one or two .22-cal rounds in the trunk of his car, but it’s been a while and I could be in error. It wasn’t a large quantity, though.

    In a word: don’t. It’s not worth it. If you want to hunt in Mexico, find some legal way to rent a weapon and purchase your ammo there.

  3. TopGoz says:

    Ihmmm… Prison conditions far worse than Guantanamo. Why isn’t Amnesty International and other like-minded groups shouting from the rooftops about this?

  4. WhiteOneAlpha says:

    John, you’re 100% correct about not bringing weapons to Mexico. I’m here in California and know how big of a deal it is down south. If you’re from Florida you may not have any idea whatsoever about how strict or not Mexico’s gun control laws are. Especially considering everything we see in the media about the cartels, that could lead one to believe Mexico is very relaxed on gun control.

    Either way, what really angers me about this is, he tried to do the right thing. He sought out paperwork and declared the firearm to customs in Mexico. The arrest is too extreme. The worst they should’ve done is say no to the weapon and confiscate it.

  5. Hondo says:

    WhiteOneAlpha: by common-sense standards, you are correct. But common sense doesn’t always apply when it comes to firearms laws, even in the US. See

    Mexico is even more anal about it’s gun laws than is DC. As you’ve noted, that’s common knowledge to most US residents near the Mexican border.

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Or risk ending up in a local jail.

  6. Old Trooper says:

    Well, if the jail is controlled by the drug cartels and most of the police in that shithole are on the drug cartel’s payroll, it stands to reason that there is no “law” in Mexico, so one can’t really know what is legal and what isn’t. You couldn’t pay me enough money to go to that country.

  7. TexasLawman says:

    Canada is almost as bad. Talk about profiling. Everytime I go to Canada in my pickup with Texas plates, I get sent to secondary for inspection. Then when I tell them how many guns I own, they go balistic, inspite of my badge.

    As a former Consul in Mexico, I can’t offer much hope to the Marine.

  8. why do we buy any of these third world countries products including there dope,taking vacations in them.Our government gives them billions of dollars.Millions of there country people live in the USA on the taxpayers backs. BOYCOTT everything from mexico I mean everything.Quit using illegal labor send them packing.American first you fools

  9. Desert says:

    Sure is a different story when someone from Mexico comes here, isn’t it? They get treated like royalty here. They can break US law and nothing happens to them. They collect from the welfare system, and the US gov. tells them they are ‘entitled’ to this, too, right on their own websites!
    But, an American goes down there? Different story, isn’t it? Even though they told him the gun was OK, well, you obviously can’t take the word of a third world bureaucrat, can you?
    Americans should just stay the hell out of that cesspool, and keep what’s left of our money here.

  10. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    At some point maybe we can elect someone who has the b4lls to build two walls 50 yards apart with landmines in between to keep those sh1tbags south of the border and to remind the rest of us why we don’t want any part of their culture or their country.

    You can’t believe the words of a 1st world bureaucrat, a third world bureaucrat is a joke on every level. These nations are not sh1tholes because the west won’t help them, they are sh1tholes because each one is run like its own little “Lord of the Flies” experiment….

    F#ck Mexico and every country south of the border, they all suck sh1t and they know it. That’s why they are constantly trying to escape those places.

  11. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Having lived in Az for 53 of my 56 years I’m well aware of the asshattery the Mexicans are capable of. Of for the young Sgt., if he was stationed at ‘Pendleton’ for any length of time, he should have known WAAAAAY better.

    As for the disparity between the way they treat us and we treat them…f*ck them right smack in the a$$ with no KY. My ex and I went to Ensenada for our honeymoon and even I got pinched! Me a shiny brown face just like the thug, passing for a cop! Claims I ran a stop sign, when he started to shake me down and I opened my wallet he saw the AmEx travelers checks and asked how much cash I had. I told him $23 and “low and behold?”, that was the exact fine for running a stop sign!?!

    I’m Hispanic, my paternal side is “la familia Yllala y Quintana” from Seville, Spain. We have a crest and the whole shebang! According to my maternal grandmother, we’re ‘Mayan’ on that side and some place way back before recorded history, one of my great, great, great, great, great somethings was a Mayan Princess. The Spanish side has been verified, the Mayan side, not so much. I hate Mexico and ‘Mexico Mexicans’.

  12. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    This Marine is now a political football. Two Congressmen, one from NY and the other from CA, are calling for a travel boycott to Mexico. Also, “On Wednesday, nearly 70 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging the administration to do whatever it can to ‘bring Jon home.'” So far they are doing about as much as they did in Benghazi.

    In another relate, development, Mexico’s ambassador to the US wrote a letter blaming the US for Mexico’s gun issues (after all they DO have stringent gun laws!) in responding to a request for the Marine’s release.

  13. Nik says:

    Just got this in my inbox.

    Jon Hammar, the U.S. Marine imprisoned in Mexico on a gun charge, will be released today, Fox News confirms

  14. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @13. Yeah! That is great news Nik. The source is his Mom. It will be a very merry Christmas in the Hammar house this year!

  15. USMCE8Ret says:

    @12 – Yeah, I saw that letter too. A thinly veiled comment about the weapons posture between Mexico and the U.S.

    @1314 – Saw it on FOXNEWS, too. I hope this isn’t a ruse/ploy the Mexican gov’t is pulling, i.e. “Er, uh, wait – never mind. Given the serious of the offense, we’ve elected to keep him and put him through our judicial process anyway.”