Demand Release of U.S. Marine from Mexico’s Most Dangerous Prison

Target: Ricardo Alday, Spokesman for the Mexican Embassy

Goal: Free U.S. Marine from a dangerous Mexican jail where he is being held on exaggerated charges

Lance Corporal Jon Hammar was on his way to a surfing trip with a friend when he ended up in one of the most dangerous prisons in Mexico. Hammar and his friend rented an RV and had been planning on driving over the Mexican border into Costa Rica to spend some time surfing and camping. His recent struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after one of his friends was killed by a sniper prompted Hammar to bring an antique rifle that had belonged to his great-grandfather with him on his camping/surfing trip.

The U.S. border patrol explained that he simply had to fill out the proper paperwork and he could be on his way. The story was very different when they reached the Mexican border. Mexican officials impounded the RV and carted the two men off to jail. The antique rifle that Hammar brought over the border was deemed to be an inch too short, making it illegal to carry in Mexico.

Hammar’s friend was released almost immediately once it was determined the rifle did not belong to him. However, Hammar has been stuck in the jail in Mexico ever since. The jail, Matamoros, is one of the most dangerous prisons in Mexico. It is filled with members of various drug cartels, and is known to have fights between the inmates often resulting in deaths. In this prison, Hammar is periodically shackled to his bed and is subject to numerous death threats and extortion demands. Members of one cartel even phoned his parents in Florida claiming they would kill their son unless they gave them a substantial amount of money.

Mexican law prohibits shotguns with a barrel of less than 25 inches, with Hammar’s measuring 24 inches. However, measurements can differ depending on where they are taken on the barrel. Lawyers for Hammar are attempting to receive a lesser charge for carrying an unregistered weapon, which would only result in a fine. Mexican officials are being uncooperative; they tried to convince Hammar to plead guilty in court without a lawyer present.

The Mexican authorities are unnecessarily prolonging this case and taking advantage of a United States Marine suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sign the petition to demand the release of Lance Corporal Jon Hammar from a prison in Mexico where he routinely fears for his life and is subject to debilitating abuse from the other inmates.


Dear Mr. Alday,

A United States Marine who bravely fought in Iraq and Afghanistan is now fighting for his own freedom in a prison in Mexico. After a misunderstanding at the Mexican border, Lance Corporal Jon Hammar was thrown into jail and has been left there for months. He was on his way to a surfing trip in Costa Rica with a friend when his vacation turned into a nightmare.

Hammar, who is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a friend was killed by snipers, had brought an antique rifle along because he and his friend would be camping. The U.S. border authorities explained that Hammar needed to fill out the proper paper work to bring the rifle into Mexico, but the Mexican border official arrested him immediately for carrying an illegal weapon.

The rifle that Hammar crossed the Mexican border with measured one inch shorter than the allotted length for a rifle barrel, making the weapon illegal and carrying it a federal offense. The Mexican authorities are not cooperating with the United States’ attempts to lessen the charges, and in the meantime, Jon Hammer is left in one of the most dangerous prisons in Mexico. He continually fears for his life and is periodically shackled to his bed.  Please contact the proper authorities and demand that Jon Hammer be released from prison.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brent Moore via Flickr

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  1. Mexican prisons are totally inhumane. God help anybody who ends up there. This marine, who sacrificed for our country must be rescued.

    • E Mc Connell says:

      Yes they are, but a Marine can tough it out. This is a complete travesty that our government has permitted one who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since August. The same government that sold far more sophisticated weapons to Mexican criminals.

  2. Boycott traveling and purchasing Mexican products until Lance Corporal Jon Hammer is set FREE

  3. Peggy Friend says:

    To: President Enrique Peno Nieto On three previous occasions I have visited Mexico. It was, and I’m sure still is a beautiful country. I truly loved Cozumel. When I retire in 2013, I was planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta (sp). I have a friend who lives there. However, if Corporal Jon Hammer is not released before Christmas (12-25-12), I will cancel my travel plans to your country, and will boycott Mexico for all times. I will encourage all other Americans to do likewise. The U.S. has given Mexico nearly 2 billion dollars. The U.S., as a whole, bears no ill will for Mexico, but incidents such as the jailing of an innocent U.S. Marine, could strain the relations between our countries. I, as an American citizen, cannot in all good consciousness, again travel to a country who treats our military personnel in such a detestible fashion. So, PLEASE release Corporal Jon Hammer immediately, and send him home to his family for the holidays. Thank you.

  4. Charles Leavitt says:

    If that was a BLACK College Professor from Massachusetts in a Mexican prison –

    You can bet that Obama would open his big mouth – even if he didn’t have any facts!

    But since it’s a WHITE former U.S. Marine – it doesn’t matter!!!

    U.S.M.C. 1961-1965

  5. just one marine in a mexican prison. no big deal to obama. dont disturb his vacation plans. much more important. he is the prez after all. not his job.

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