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Mexican authorities to release former Marine Jon Hammar held in Mexican jail on firearms charge

2:51 PM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON -- Senator Bill Nelson's office sent a release Friday morning saying former Marine Jon Hammar will be released from a Mexican prison where he has been held for four months.

Mexican authorities have held Hammar since August on a gun charge, according to an aide with the Mexican embassy in Washington.

A release from Sen. Nelson's office said the aide told Nelson's staff about the pending release Friday morning.  Hammar's mother had already notified the senator's office of the development, the release said.

The release said a defense attorney told Nelson's office the release comes after it was determined Hammar had no intention of committing a crime.

A U.S. Consulate official told Nelson's office they are waiting to escort the former Marine back to the United States safely once he is released.

Nelson's office said he has been working to free the Marine over the past several months.  The 27-year-old, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being held at the Matamoros, Mexico prison.  Hammar and his family are from the Miami area.

Nelson said, "No American should be in a Mexican jail for five months without being able to have his case in front of a judge.  We're grateful; this is a good Christmas present."

Hammar and a friend were supposed to head to Costa Rica for a surf trip.

According to Nelson's office, Hammar and a companion were arrested by Mexican authorities for bringing a shotgun across the U.S.-Mexico border.  The shotgun had belonged to Hammar's great-grandfather.

The release said Hammar had asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection about bringing the shotgun across the border. Hammar was told so long as he paid a fee and registered the gun he would be fine.

Hammar was arrested and elected officials had to plea with Mexican authorities to remove Hammar from the general prison population where Nelson said Hammar was receiving death threats.

Once he was moved, outcry grew after photographs of Hammar chained to a bed surfaced.

In addition to Sen. Nelson's efforts, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and other lawmakers worked with Mexican officials and to draw attention to Hammar's case.

First Coast News

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