Ex-marine freed from jail
A former marine, jailed in Mexico after illegally crossing the border with an antique shotgun, has been released, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. Jon Hammar, 27, a south Florida resident and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested after entering Mexico on his way to Costa Rica for a vacation. In Mexico, shotguns are reserved for military use. Sixty-eight lawmakers wrote to Mexican authorities last week seeking information and calling for Hammar’s release. Hammar was set free after a Mexican court ruled that he did not intend to break the law when he entered the country with the shotgun, Mexican media reported. Hammar was arrested on Aug. 13 when he crossed into the Mexican border town of Matamoros with a .410 Sears & Roebuck shotgun in his vehicle. Mexican customs agents had told Hammar that he could bring the gun into the country as long as he registered it immediately with authorities, the letter signed by US lawmakers said. Hammar, who has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, faced abuse from fellow prisoners and lawmakers, his family said. They have also accused Mexican prison authorities of repeatedly handcuffing Hammar to his bed, which Mexico denies.
Banton trial juror probed
A Florida juror who voted to convict Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton on drug charges has denied improperly researching the case during the trial, despite a weekly newspaper’s report that quoted her as saying that she did. Banton is serving a 10-year prison sentence for convictions on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges stemming from a 2009 arrest. The Grammy winner faces an additional five years for his conviction on a related gun possession charge, but his resentencing hearing was postponed to investigate the report of juror misconduct. Banton’s attorneys have filed a motion in Tampa Federal Court seeking a new trial. If granted, it would be the second mistrial for Banton, whose first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked. He was convicted last year in his second trial.
Plane crashes in Arctic
Authorities say a plane en route from Winnipeg to the remote Arctic territory of Nunavut has crashed with nine people on board. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, citing a Nunavut government official, reports that the Perimeter Aviation plane aborted a landing and crashed less than 1km from the end of a runway in the community of Sanikiluaq. The broadcaster said the plane was carrying seven passengers and two crew and went down at about 6pm. It added that the Nunavut government official indicated there were survivors, some of them injured.
Police seize huge drug haul
Authorities seized more than 1,000kg of cocaine and heroin and arrested seven people last weekend. National Drug Control Agency director Rolando Rosado said the drugs were found on Friday aboard a speedboat from South America. Rosado on Saturday said that four Dominicans and three Venezuelans were detained after they threw 30 of the 47 drug packets into the sea. He said agents seized more than 1,190kg of cocaine and 7kg of heroin, along with 110 heroin capsules. Rosado said it is authorities’ second-largest drug seizure this year. He added that authorities have seized more than 8 tonnes of cocaine this year, setting a record.