Op-ed Pieces

Obama Silent as Mexico Jails Former Marine on Trumped-Up Gun Charge

A former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has been chained to a bed in a Mexican prison since August. Jon Hammar faces up to 12 years in a Mexican jail on what may be a trumped-up charge of possessing an illegal shotgun. Customs officials had already cleared the shotgun before he entered Mexico.

On August 23, Hammar and his friend Ian McDonough were en route to Costa Rica on a surfing vacation when they ran into trouble after crossing the Mexican border. 
According to McClatchy newspapers, Hammer brought “a six-decade-old shotgun into Mexico,” which his mother referred to as a “glorified BB gun,” that was passed down to him by his grandfather.

McDonough said the Customs and Border Protection Agent said, “All you have to do is register” the gun, and gave them a registration paper to give to the Mexican authorities.

When Hammar gave the registration form to the Mexican agents, he and McDonough were immediately taken into custody and Mexican prosecutors looked at the “disassembled relic in the 1972 Winnebago motor home” and “dismissed the U.S. registration papers Hammar had filled out,” charging Hammar with the serious crime of “possession of a weapon restricted for use to Mexico’s armed forces”:

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.

 

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