Marine Jailed In Mexico, For a war vet from South Florida, a leisurely road trip to a seaside vacation came to an abrupt end in a Mexican jail, where he has languished for four months, sometimes chained to a bed. For the first few months, Jon Hammar’s parents kept his plight out of the public eye, fearing that media attention could bring harm to him in prison.
But now they are coming forward, hoping the publicity will push Mexican authorities to act. Hammar, 27, is being held in the border town of Matamoros, just across from Brownsville, Texas. It is notorious as the home of the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s major drug trafficking organizations.
“The only reason they were going to stop was to get more gas,” his father said.
Hammar, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine, was headed to Costa Rica in August to go surfing with a fellow veteran.
He had surfed there before and packed every good surf board he had, his parents said.
But he also took one item that quickly became troublesome: an antique shotgun handed down from his great grandfather.
He intended to hunt with it, his parents said. And he declared it with U.S. border agents.
But after he drove his Winnebago a few feet farther to the Mexican side, authorities arrested him, saying the weapon did not comply with their gun laws.
“The crime that he’s charged with is possession of a weapon that’s restricted for military use,” Olivia Hammar, the mother, said.
A branch of the Mexican military has said the gun is not on their “forbidden list,” she said. But the former Marine remains incarcerated.
A few nights after Hammar’s arrest, his parents received the first of several threatening calls from inside the jail, they said.