Miami-Dade County

Marine veteran Jon Hammar, freed from Mexican prison, arrives home

 

After spending months in a Mexican prison for bringing an antique shotgun into the country, Jon Hammar arrived back home in South Florida on Monday.

dmoskovitz@MiamiHerald.com

Jon Hammar’s family got their Christmas wish .

The Marine veteran from Palmetto Bay who was detained for months, chained to his bed in a Mexican border prison for bringing his great-grandfather’s shotgun into the country, arrived home Monday, just in time for Christmas.

Miami Herald news partner CBS4 reported that Hammar arrived at his family’s Palmetto Bay home shortly before noon. Still recovering from an illness, Hammar didn’t talk to reporters.

“He’s inside,” his father told reporters, according to CBS4. “He can barely stand up right now. He’s really sick. Under doctor’s orders my wife took him and put him in bed.”

Hammar was arrested Aug. 13 when he and a fellow Marine veteran, who were headed to Costa Rica to surf, tried to cross into Mexico.

Hammar had been told by U.S. authorities he could declare a six-decades-old .410-bore Sears & Roebuck shotgun at the border. The firearm is suitable for shooting rabbits and birds.

But Mexican officials dismissed Hammar’s U.S. registration papers for the disassembled relic. Prosecutors charged him with possession of a weapon restricted for use to Mexico’s armed forces.

Hammar was sent to the Matamoros prison, where, at one point, inmates affiliated with local drug cartels telephoned Hammar’s parents to try to extort money from them.

U.S. officials intervened, and Hammar was separated from the general inmate population. But he still spent much of his time chained to a bed.

He was released Friday, and Hammar and his father drove back to South Florida. Because Hammar was ill, they had to stop along the way at a Louisiana hospital.

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