Report: Jon Hammar to be released from Mexican prison today
Published December 21, 2012
DEVELOPING: Jon Hammar, the U.S. Marine imprisoned in Mexico on a gun charge, will be released today, his mother told Fox News Radio.
Olivia Hammar said the judge hearing Hammar's case issued a ruling in his favor and that her son is to be released at a time on Friday yet to be announced. No more details were available. Hammar, 27, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been stuck in a notorious, drug cartel-controlled prison just 15 miles south of the U.S. border since Aug. 13, after he crossed into Mexico and declared an antique shotgun to Mexican customs officials.
News of his pending release came just a day after a letter surfaced from Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. that insisted Hammar's case would go to trial.
"This circumstance requires that he remain under detention during the duration of his trial," Arturo Sarukhan said in the letter.
Hammar, who was charged with a federal level weapon felony and faces up to 15 years in a Mexican prison for what his travel companion said was a breakdown in communication at the U.S.-Mexico border. He has been held in the notorious CEDES prison in Matamoros, Mexico, ever since. The prison is just 15 miles south of the border.
But there were questions about the case from the beginning. Ian McDonough, 27, a friend and fellow Marine who was with Hammar when he was nabbed, told FoxNews.com that four U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents told Hammar before he crossed into Mexico that as long as the required permit, which he completed, was submitted and he declared the gun to Mexican authorities, there would be no problem in bringing the vintage shotgun across the border.
The gun was a family heirloom that Hammar planned to use on a hunting and surfing trip in Costa Rica. Hammar, who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and McDonough hoped to forget about the horrors of war with some relaxation in the Central American nation after driving south through Mexico in their Winnebago.
On Thursday, two Republican congressmen called for a national travel boycott of Mexico until the country releases Hammar, urging "all Americans" to campaign for the war veteran's freedom by turning off the tap on America's tourism dollars. His case was also embraced by supporters through an extensive social media effort anchored by www.facebook.com/FreeJonHammar
"We never leave a brother behind. We never leave a Marine behind. We have to do something," screams the title of the page.
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