Saturday, December 22, 2012

México: Former US Marine Imprisoned on Firearms Violations Released, Back Home

As a follow-up to my previous postings on the imprisonment of former US Marine and combat veteran Jon Hammar, 27,  thanks in large part to the efforts of Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and Mr. Hammar's Mexican attorney, Eddie Varón Levy. The American is now safely back in the United States. 

US Department of State representatives from the US Consulate General in Matamoros escorted Hammar to the US border, where he was reunited with members of his family.

COMMENT: Thanks are also extended to the Department of State and Members of Congress who worked tirelessly to seek Mr. Hammar's release from a 12-to-15 year prison sentence.

Having worked in México for many years, I would urge all travelers do do the following before entering México:

1. Ensure that you carry NO firearms, ammunition or knives of any kind, not in checked luggage or carry-on luggage; and

2. Thoroughly review the website of the nearest embassy or consulate to the port of entry through which you will be entering México and comply fully with all regulations.

It should be noted that in México's dysfunctional criminal justice system, Hammar was shackled to his bed and imprisoned for five months without ever appearing before a judge.

Shortly after Mr. Hammar's arrest and incarceration, I noted two websites that tourists and travelers MUST review before even contemplating the taking of any firearm, ammunition or even some types of knives into México:

http://www.tijuana.usconsulate.gov/tijuana/warning

http://www.mexonline.com/mexguns


Additionally, on the US Embassy's website in Mexico City, it states that:

"The Department of State warns all US citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Mexico. Entering México with a firearm, certain types of knives, or even a single round of ammunition is illegal, even if the weapon or ammunition is taken into Mexico unintentionally." Mexican law also bans shotguns with barrels less than 25 inches; Mr. Hammar's .410 gauge shotgun was 24 inches in length.