Against expectations, former U.S. Marine Jon Hammar is reportedly being released, but not before the Mexican government blamed gun trafficking from the United States in a letter explaining his extended imprisonment on a technicality.
Hammar was arrested for bringing an antique shotgun into Mexico, after U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials told him he would be able to register it with the Mexican government.
“As you know well, Mexico has had very stringent gun-control laws in place for many years, and have reinforced their application as a result of the flow of weapons illicitly purchased in the U.S. and then trafficked into Mexico and into the hands of transnational criminal organizations,” Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, wrote yesterday in a letter to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who has helped lead efforts to pressure the Mexican government into releasing Hammar.
That could be a simple swipe at U.S. law enforcement who fail to stop weapons from crossing the border, but it’s hard not to hear an allusion to Operation Fast and Furious, which saw U.S. officials facilitate weapons purchases in the U.S. by Mexican drug cartels who smuggled the arms back into Mexico.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by drug smugglers armed through Fast and Furious; the weapons have also been used on the Mexican people. “A gun found at the scene of a shootout between a Mexican drug cartel and soldiers where a beauty queen died was part of the botched ‘Fast and Furious’ operation,” CBS reported this week.
Ros-Lehtinen, who called for Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to “come clean” about Operation Fast and Furious, announced this morning that Hammar will be released today.