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  • Former U.S. Marine Arrested in Mexico for Possession of Family Heirloom

    Why is the Obama Administration not doing more to free a former Marine from a Mexican prison?

    Twenty-seven-year-old Jon Hammar—a former Marine Lance Corporal and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—is attracting increasing congressional and media attention. Hammar was arrested by Mexican authorities on August 13 when he crossed over into Mexico from Brownsville, Texas, on his way to go surfing in Costa Rica. Hammar’s “mistake” was carrying his heirloom shotgun into Mexico without the necessary permit.

    While accounts vary as to the nature of information provided to Hammar by our government prior to entering Mexico, he was arrested on the Mexican side and charged with violating Mexico’s tough gun laws. The criminal case hinges on whether the barrel of his Sears and Roebuck shotgun was 24 inches long (illegal, deemed military grade) rather than 25 inches (legal, non-military). It seems quite clear from all available evidence that Hammar misunderstood regulations and clearly had no felonious intent to violate Mexican laws. Yet, under Mexican law, he could receive a 15-year prison sentence.

    Pictures of the jailed Marine recently became public. Hammar was chained to his bunk in a dingy dungeon cell. While he has received visits from U.S. consular officials and is scheduled for a hearing on January 17, his treatment reflects badly on Mexico’s justice system, and calls into question the degree to which the Obama Administration has fought for his fair treatment and possible release.

    Prison conditions in Mexico are often medieval. Imagine what the world reaction would be if a Mexican national was incarcerated by U.S. officials and held in similar conditions. (It should be noted that part of U.S. assistance to Mexico under the Merida Initiative is to help with modernizing prisons.)

    Thanks to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL), current Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and other congressmen and women from both parties who signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as active support in social media from fellow veterans, Hammar’s case is now receiving the attention it merits.

    No one disputes Mexico’s sovereign right to protect itself from the illegal gun trade. Over 70,000 people have died since 2006 in the fight against organized crime.

    Yet, there is also a need for a sense of proportion. This is not a case involving the hundreds of murderous high caliber weapons such as AK-47-type weapons that the Department of Justice (DOJ) officials permitted “to walk” into Mexico in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious.

    Hammar was transporting a family heirloom, a .410 shotgun, for the purpose of bird hunting. Nothing more. The barrel was, arguably, one inch shorter than the Mexican law allowed, and he did not register the weapon. Non-registration of a weapon is typically an offense in which the “offender” receives a citation, not jail time.

    The Obama Administration must do more to secure Hammar’s fair treatment and ultimate release. And what about human rights groups, who normally agitate for the detained and oppressed? Why haven’t we heard a peep from them?

    Mexico is a key ally—an important partner in this hemisphere. But Mexico’s treatment of Jon Hammar is unacceptable.

    Even when many wish to be upbeat about Mexico, individual cases like that of Jon Hammar damage bilateral relations. Our innate sense of fairness and compassion extends to Hammar and others like him, especially when their treatment offends our sense of dignity and the proposed punishment far exceeds the alleged crime. In such cases, the Obama Administration would be well advised not to hide behind the mask of diplomatic doubletalk.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Former U.S. Marine Arrested in Mexico for Possession of Family Heirloom

    1. Bobbie says:

      What are the President's priorities? Seems none to great than his focus on destruction of this country and her founding documents. Thought he was a citizen of the world? Not that part thought, eh? Or Benghazi, or anywhere Americans happen to be outside this country.

      Somebody has to step in and take the necessary, Presidential responsibilities Mr. Obama isn't!! For the sake of civil humanity, please save him!!! He complied with their laws, there's no reason for him to endure this imprisonment.

    2. Jan says:

      Get this man home NOW.

    3. Steve Black says:

      This whole thing needs to go worldwide viral exposing and chastising our third world Ally?) neighbor right along with our famous state department.

    4. pete says:

      A empty shotgun/rifle shell in the bed of your pickup can cost you $10,000 to solve the issue if you cross the border and they find it when they go thru your truck. Most Texans know this and go thru there vehicle to make sure the empties are out. He is missing representation that can make the release happen.

    5. Carol,AZ says:

      NO surprise from here:
      "why" our weak knee Govt hasn't intervened in this case involving this young man, one of our own defenders, a Marine, who served in AF , Jon Hammar.
      The prison system in MX is run by the Cartels. If you haven't understood by now that our own Govt has supported the war on our border instead of defending us , you've missed a huge part of our living American history.
      Our lack of leadership for National Security and using , " a nice guy approach " as described by our limp waisted press is the order of the day.
      Our collapsed system of justice , along with Sec. of State, Clinton who recently been self described, "having a concussion".. is a kind way to put her complete absence to testify over the failed botched nightmare in Libya.
      What does one have to do with the other?
      "A Nation That Forgets ITS Defenders Will Itself Be Forgotten."
      Pack it up Seals and bring Jon home for Christmas.

    6. Sans says:

      Maybe he should have checked the gun laws before he set off crossing borders. Yes, the gun laws here in Mexico are strict, especially for non-nationals. Why was he carrying this "antique heirloom" anyway? And his plan was to travel further south? What about the gun laws in those countries? You think Mexico prisons are bad? Central American prisons make Mexico's look like a
      Hilton. He is lucky he was detained in Mexico, if it was further south he would be dead by now.Unfortunately for he and his loved ones, they are learning a hard lesson.

      • Bobbie says:

        he did follow their laws. It's said he was set up and arrested for money extortion! If that's the way foreign governments conduct their treatment of tourists, no more travel here.

        His unjust circumstance taught us a lesson.

    7. Why would anyone think that it is right, even if it was legal, to take a firearm across the border, especially to Mexico. Stupidity is what this is and now they are pushing US law officials to do something about it, c'mon man!!! This Marine made a stupid move, not only by not registering, but by not letting customs know that he was crossing this weapon, so I feel no sympathy for stupidity.

    8. Chairman Rick says:

      The Mexican government may be using poor judgement and making a bigger matter of this incident than it should, but the young man who did not think about the possible consequences of being stopped and searched by the police in a foreign country and found to be transporting a weapon has only himself to blame. Ignorance of the law is not a viable excuse. Therefor, ignorance or negligence of compassion towards this young man by the Mexican people should not be such a shock to those arguing in his favor. He'd be lucky to go home with a slap on the hand and hopefully a hard lesson learned. I certainly hope it turns out that way.

    9. Wise Old Owl says:

      obama can authorize sending hundreds of illegal guns into Mexico under Fast & Furious, and no one cares. A single citizen makes a mistake, and Mexico threatens jail.

    10. Mike says:

      I have lived in Arizona for 17 years and during that time it has been my observation that when a person gets into trouble in Mexico they head North into the US. They also head North for work, for health care and into California for free everything. Because of the number of illegal aliens coming into the US from Mexico they account for a disproportionately larger segment of the criminal population here in Arizona. However when they are caught for something, like possession of a fire arm or DUI, they simply just go home or they are deported. We need to send a clear message to the Mexican government that America is not Mexico's nanny or it's dumping ground for every social problem. However that would require leadership and we obviously have none.

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