Good news, courtesy of Fox News’ Brett Baier on Twitter: “Jon Hammar, the U.S. Marine imprisoned in Mexico on a gun charge, will be released today.”
Hammar, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested by Mexican authorities in August for carrying his grandfather’s antique shotgun across the border, during a vacation trip to do some surfing – an activity that helped him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder from his combat experiences. He’s been held at the Matamoros state prison, which is not a comfortable facility:
Hammar’s imprisonment has been characterized as a bureaucracy gone mad. He displayed his unloaded antique shotgun to both American and Mexican border patrol agents. The U.S. agents examined it carefully, found it satisfied all the rules for transit into Mexico, and gave him some paperwork to fill out. The Mexican border patrol promptly declared the unmodified barrel of the weapon was one inch too short and arrested him. Various little “mistakes” and bureaucratic “errors” left Hammar tumbling through the Mexican court system like a ball bearing in a pachinko machine, until he landed in that cell… where he might have spent the next twelve years.
It would be tough to describe today’s announcement of release as a “happy” ending, but it’s certainly better than 12 years in a Mexican jail. The confusing part of the story is why President Obama didn’t intervene to secure Hammar’s release. All he had to do was say that Hammar was bringing his gun to a Mexican drug lord, on behalf of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and everything would have been fine.