[LEFT][COLOR=#000000]**Nightmare in Mexico: Friends, family call for the release of ex-Marine jailed in Mexico after trying to declare an antique shotgun
Jon Hammar was en route to Costa Rica for a surfing trip when he cleared the gun with U.S. customs and was told he could do the same in Mexico. Four months later, he’s still behind bars in a notorious prison and is 'losing hope.’
BY VICTORIA CAVALIERE / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
An ex-Marine who survived dangerous patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan is now “chained to a bed” in a notorious Mexican prison after a road trip to Costa Rica went terribly wrong, his friends and family say.
A chorus of supporters are calling on the Mexican government to release Jon Hammar, 27, who was jailed in August for carrying an antique shotgun that he believed could be legally registered in Mexico.
Hammar, of Palmetto Bay, Fla., was headed to Costa Rica for a surfing trip to try and recover from post-traumatic stress after four years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The only time Hammar is not losing his mind is when he’s on the water,” fellow Marine veteran Ian McDonough, who was arrested with Hammar during the August incident but later released by Mexican authorities, told McClatchy newspapers.
Hammar and McDonough had stocked up a used Winnebago with surfboards and camping supplies and had just crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Mexico, where they were detained.
Hammar had registered the shotgun, a Sear & Roebuck model that once belonged to his great-grandfather, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the U.S. side of the border.
After being told by U.S. agents the shotgun posed no problem and could be reigstered in Mexico, Hammar and McDonough crossed the border, tried to declare the weapon, and found themselves separated and behind bars.
“The crux of it is the length of the barrel,” his mother, Olivia Hammar, 46, told Reuters. “There’s an old law on the books that says it can’t be under 25 inches…It’s a 2-foot barrel…It’s strictly a technicality.”
“It’s a glorified BB gun,” she said.
There’s also a “We the People” **petition**that has gained more than 8,000 signatures in just a few days.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. took to the Senate floor Tuesday to urge the Mexican government to release Hammar immediately.
“The Mexican authorities, if it is against the law to take a gun in, even though he had already declared it at U.S. customs, the Mexican authorities could have … sent him back into the United States and told him, ‘Don’t bring your great-grandfather’s shotgun into Mexico,’” Nelson said.
“They have put a United States Marine, who has honorably served his country, in a Mexican jail since last August. Now, enough is enough,” he said.