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Personal choice segment tonight as you may know we were very involved in covering the story of former marine corporal John hammer unjustly imprisoned in Mexico.
-- Hemmer spent more than four months in a filthy Matamoros jail was human -- to his bed for a short time.
-- before Christmas Mexican authorities released him under heavy pressure from the factor in other media.
Joining us now from Miami in a factor exclusive is corporal -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And fill -- until about -- and you doctors tell you what.
They had me on you know light duty type thing where I couldn't lift anything for a couple days but right now I'm off that I'm good now.
When you first got out of prison though.
And you walked across to the US your doctor was on program.
Told me that you're really bad shape did you know you're so physically run down.
I had an idea but I didn't know fully.
And what was the problem what were you experiencing that.
Why -- I was dehydrated.
Have a it's long infection.
A number of things.
What cause all -- I think it was just been about environment.
You know I -- the majority of the time without getting sick but up until the end because when I started didn't.
Little bill tomorrow and then it just -- progress from there now most Americans are never going to be in a Mexican prison thank god and I'm sure you thought you'd never be there.
Let's I want you to give me.
An idea what happens there.
All right so you get up in the morning at what time and -- walked me through.
Well I was in solitary confinement.
It was like -- outside shed and so usually the sun would wake me up in the morning.
And Wallace changed there over there was -- really.
Routine that I could do for saying.
But you know -- -- you get to use you know the shower in the toilet.
Did you try to drink as much water as you can and you try to.
Get as much food as you can sometimes it doesn't work out sometimes you know does -- what do you mean do they give you breakfast lunch and dinner like they would new US president.
No where where I was I was away from.
The general population and where -- the food is so.
You know usually I would get at least one Rio -- sometimes like ago Tony -- without.
And then other times I could.
I could get more than a mile day and snack off you know things that.
People feeling sorry would.
Help me now.
So good today so you give you a regular meal program -- may be you know whatever they -- felt like if they come.
Violence and food for you and water did you have access to water.
Luckily I had access to water I did all right men.
Let's pick it up when your deal began.
You drive down with a friend to Brownsville Texas you check in with the US authorities what -- you tell the US people.
We told them we've got this hunting shotgun.
And we're trying to go through Mexico illegally and what are we have to do.
They gave us some paperwork to fill it's you know she declared with this paperwork he should be fine.
We paid a -- We cross the border.
And declared the weapon.
And then that's where little short -- about -- where things started going wrong all right.
So you're you're in a Winnebago you crossed into Matamoros you go voluntarily to the Mexican side.
You show them the American paperwork and then they immediately do what -- It took him awhile to talk to their superiors.
To figure out what they're gonna do about it.
-- certain superior that made the decision that I was gonna go to jail came through.
They started doing the paperwork that -- let us know that we're going to jail though.
They made it sound like we're just gonna go to a place in and pay a -- So we did took us downtown.
We stayed there for four days my friend got out I stayed in and then eventually I ended up in prison.
What happened when you walked into the prison.
You're an American and what are the other inmates do.
-- I came into the prison that around 3 in the morning.
You know initially there is there's some pressure put on me.
They tried to extort money from the -- But.
This American council.
-- me out of the general population and put me into -- -- You know a single place by myself.
How would they try to extort money from your.
-- -- your family.
They -- they throw threats you and your family.
And tell you know that we need we need your money.
They didn't tell me for what they didn't tell you what you -- they threaten you -- violence.
Yes they do there's drugs in my life when I initially got in there.
How did you -- -- I think I did all right -- I'm alive right now.
There's not much of a fight news there is a -- a little bit of -- you know they roughed me up a little bit but.
There was quickly resolve the moon back to talking.
Well when you say today who is threatening you the guards -- the inmates.
-- when I was in general population -- was -- inmates I don't know exactly who they were.
And it was very dark in the beginning so not sure exactly who they -- a news and I know there are guards and other -- Did the guards -- you at all when you.
As the time passed by.
No I mean there is you know there's always jokes and you know comments but there was no real threats like didn't -- the first night.
Did you have to.
Bribe people pay money to people.
No for now for food for access to water for anything like that.
I mean every now and then if if you you know if you have a -- of toothpaste and you wanna hear an -- -- have to face you wanna sell it and try to get some food you know there's bargain deals they can do for things like.
So the counsel at the US council would give you certain things.
Toothpaste shaving gear whatever and then you could bartered that for food because they weren't getting regular meals.
That's how went down it was a barter society.
The you know you can you can sell and trade things just like anywhere.
And get whatever you need essentially what was it fear factor as far as you're concerned when you trade for your life and there are we fearful.
I mean there's definitely a -- time in there where you know I had to keep that in mind good.
I wouldn't really concentrate on that because I didn't want that.
To make -- have any mistakes or anything like -- How did you pass the time.
-- news very slow.
That's a lot of it's a lot of being inside your head you know it's it's difficult.
And was there anything you could do -- do you have any books you have any radio or anything like that.
I had to -- -- in there that.
I got from the American Consulate.
And they -- I read up.
Red the last stand of fox company.
It's about the Marine Corps in North Korea.
And then I also read the Bible I read the whole old testament and almost all the new testament.
When you were in there were you aware that this program and other media were trying to get -- out.
Not and so late in the game.
Really not and so maybe the last month that I realized there is actual media coverage.
-- did that come to your attention.
One of the one of the people in the -- actually handed me a particle.
In Spanish and Mexican journalists I guess wrote something on me saw -- big picture of me.
And you know I realize OK you'll and now my stories out so.
Eventually I'm gonna get out here.
We you frustrated with the US authorities to -- you know I took a long time -- -- more than four months and at places is a long time she really do anything.
I was frustrated with with every with all the different authorities I had infield.
Anything really worked out in my favor but in the end you know -- I did get out and it worked out without anyone getting hurt.
It must have been very difficult for you to talk -- parents say you had some phone conversations with Dan thanks to the US -- down there was a difficult talking mom and stuff right.
There was difficult do you know Chris.
The -- Mexico is telling me one thing -- and they are getting other information we're going back and forth trying to find out what was going on so it has to -- -- -- some people want to give -- twelve years for this little deal that was what was.
Right staring -- face right twelve years.
Yeah they were there -- figure -- twelve years do you really when you think back I think this was a big extortion deal that's what they want you folks detail under grander soda.
You know some people make it go away is that's the usual calm down -- Mexico that's what usually happens.
I'm not sure.
You know what actually happened because I was in solitary confinement the majority of the time.
I know some people did try to extort money out of me -- I don't think everybody was trying to.
-- if there was more than just one person trying to extort money out of me it seems to me that they kind of contradicted each other and and cancel each other out.
But they did go to your parents as well they wanted money from them as well.
And yes that is.
The Winnebago that he drove down there it's still down and and I gonna give it up seems.
Well I've been targeted American Consulate and we're trying to work something out hopefully in the next week or two.
Albeit in two retrieve all my things that your vehicle is that your view on that vehicle.
Yes okay so all in all you get any advice for Americans who want to go -- in Mexico corporate and.
I think that Mexico has to do with some issues that it has first -- If you're going hunting in Mexico I would definitely contractor guide service me I was -- necessarily going on their -- -- percent I was more.
Camping and surfing and this this shock and that I brought it is just something out of my cabin equipment.
Do you have any bitterness toward the Mexicans.
No I don't I think I think Rex goes a great place I really wish.
You know like like everywhere could kind of get its act together.
-- we have some issues down in Mexico some serious issues you gonna be okay corporal.
-- Anything we can -- you let us know we appreciate talking to us tonight.
And bill are are really I'd like to thank you for everything you -- -- for me in this situation.
But also like to think Ileana Ross Leighton.
Bill Nelson and on the congress people who help me out.
My friends and friendly everyone who signed the petition tell me get out.
And people on both sides of the border who spoke up for me on my behalf I really appreciate it okay -- -- -- pleasure for us to do -- your patriot and we wish you all the best.
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