Jon Hammar dreamed of escaping to Costa Rica. As a U.S. Marine he served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned home to battle with post-traumatic stress disorder. After getting treatment, he was ready to start his life over.
Costa Rica was where Hammar, 27, an avid surfer, wanted to find some calm, riding the waves and relaxing. He left with a friend, another former Marine, but their drive from Florida to Costa Rica didn’t go as planned and now he’s facing another battle. The U.S. veteran is behind bars in Mexico, facing gun charges and his family is speaking out tonight on 360, pleading for his release.
Hammer’s parents, Jon Sr. and Olivia, say the trouble centers around the decades-old Sears and Roebuck shotgun he brought along on the trip. It was Hammer’s great grandfather’s gun.
His parents say he was going to go hunting with it and he had the right paperwork to declare it when he crossed the border into Mexico. But Mexican authorities see it differently. Hammer’s been locked up in Mexico since August 18, all because of the length of the barrel on his antique gun.
Hammar’s family says he’s being held in a prison believed to be controlled by mexican drug cartel members. They say they’ve received threatening phone calls from people in the prison trying to extort money from them. Several U.S. lawmakers are pushing for his release, including Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who you’ll hear from tonight.
Watch the video for a preview of Anderson’s interview with Hammar’s parents and see more at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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