Fifth American arrested in Turks and Caicos for ammunition possession, Florida woman involved

On Thursday, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force confirmed that they had arrested a Florida woman on Monday. The woman was accused of carrying ammunition at an airport in the islands.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt first announced the arrest of Sharitta Shinese Grier during an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday. He had previously written a letter to Turks and Caicos Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, along with Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, urging for the release of three Americans currently held in the islands.

Grier, aged 45, becomes the fifth American to face arrest and detention in TCI for carrying ammunition at an airport since February. He joins the ranks of Ryan Watson from Oklahoma, Tyler Wenrich from Virginia, Bryan Hagerich from Pennsylvania, and Michael Lee Evans from Texas.

According to a press release from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force on Thursday, Ms. Grier allegedly had ammunition in her possession during a routine search at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, Providenciales on Monday, May 13th, 2024.

Three governors from the United States have urged the Turks and Caicos Islands to release American citizens who have been detained over ammunition-related charges. The governors, who are from the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Montana, have written a joint letter to the Premier of Turks and Caicos expressing their concerns and requesting the immediate release of the detained individuals. The American citizens are currently being held in custody on the islands, and the governors are seeking a swift resolution to the situation. The joint letter highlights the importance of maintaining a strong relationship between the United States and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and emphasizes the need for fair treatment of American citizens who may find themselves in legal trouble while visiting the territory. The governors are hopeful that their appeal will lead to a positive outcome and the release of the detained Americans.

Read More:  Iowa Senate approves law on foreign ownership of land

Since February, authorities in Turks and Caicos have arrested five American individuals for attempting to carry ammunition through the island’s airports. (Image: Turks and Caicos Police/ Dimitrios Kambouris)

Grier’s attorney refrained from providing any comments on her client’s case at the time of publication, as stated to Fox News Digital.

Watson, Hagerich, and Wenrich’s father had previously been interviewed by Fox News Digital regarding their arrests for having stray ammunition discovered in their luggage.

All three men claim that they were on their way back home from their vacations when airport security officials at TCI discovered stray bullets in their luggage. They emphasize that they had no intention of bringing ammunition to the islands and had simply forgotten about it from previous hunting trips. It is important to note that carrying stray bullets in their bags is considered a serious offense in TCI, with a minimum sentence of 12 years according to a recent ordinance.

The detainees need to present their case before the TCI Superior Court, demonstrating that they were apprehended under “exceptional circumstances.” This entails providing evidence that they have no previous criminal record, did not have any intention of bringing ammunition into the airport, and explaining why a 12-year sentence would be disproportionate in their specific situations.

The group, consisting of four friends, had traveled to Turks and Caicos for a vacation. One evening, they decided to explore the island and stumbled upon a private beach. In their excitement, they entered the beach without realizing that it was privately owned. Unbeknownst to them, their innocent act would lead to their arrest and potentially a long prison sentence.

Upon being apprehended by local authorities, the Americans were informed that trespassing on private property in Turks and Caicos is considered a serious offense. They were shocked to learn that the punishment for this seemingly minor transgression could be as severe as 12 years behind bars.

Read More:  K-12 school leaders face tough questions from lawmakers over antisemitic incidents

The tourists maintain that they had no intention of breaking the law or causing any harm. It was a genuine oversight on their part, driven by their eagerness to explore and enjoy the beauty of the island. They never imagined that their actions would have such dire consequences.

The group is now grappling with the realization that their dream vacation has turned into a nightmare. They are anxiously awaiting their day in court, hoping for a fair and lenient judgment that takes into account their lack of malicious intent.

This incident serves as a cautionary tale for travelers, highlighting the importance of being aware of local laws and regulations when visiting a foreign country. What may seem like an innocent mistake in one’s home country could have severe legal consequences elsewhere.

As the Americans prepare to face the legal system in Turks and Caicos, they are left reflecting on the unintended consequences of their actions. What started as a simple desire to explore and enjoy their vacation has now put their freedom and future at stake.

Bryan Hagerich, a 39-year-old former professional baseball player and father of two from Pennsylvania, was in court in Turks and Caicos on Friday. The judge ruled that he must remain in the islands for an additional three weeks until his sentencing.

Hagerich previously shared with Fox News Digital that he had no intention of bringing ammunition with him. He expressed deep sadness over the tragic events that unfolded and the devastating impact it had on his relationship with his wife and family.

According to an April press release by the government, individuals in Turks and Caicos do not possess a constitutional entitlement to bear firearms. This statement was made in response to the arrests of the Americans.

An Oklahoma man who was found with ammunition at the Turks and Caicos airport is now facing the possibility of spending 12 years in prison. This incident has left the man worried about the potential consequences and the risk of losing everything.

Read More:  Real estate developer in Washington sentenced for fraudulent activities related to pandemic relief funds

According to a press release from the government, it has been emphasized that the Turks and Caicos Islands have strict laws in place to prohibit the possession of firearms and ammunition, with the primary aim of ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. The press release further highlights that individuals found guilty of firearm and ammunition offenses face severe penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 12 years, in addition to fines.

Tyler Wenrich and Ryan Watson have a court appearance scheduled in Turks and Caicos on June 7.

The State Department has recently issued a Public Service Announcement (PSA) warning Americans about the potential consequences of carrying ammunition in many countries. According to the PSA, individuals can be arrested for possessing even a single stray shell or casing. As a precautionary measure, the Department advises travelers to thoroughly check all pockets and every nook and cranny of their suitcases before embarking on international trips in order to avoid encountering legal issues abroad.

Stitt and Youngkin, who are both Republicans, along with Shapiro, who is a Democrat, are urging Turks and Caicos to “reconsider” the charges that have been brought against Watson, Wenrich, and Hagerich, and to “expedite their release back to their families as soon as possible.”

“We, as governors, deeply comprehend and value the utmost significance of adhering to the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction to safeguard your citizens,” they expressed. “With utmost humility, we kindly request that your esteemed government exercises wisdom in balancing justice with mercy, acknowledging that these individuals erred but without any evident ill intentions.”

Read More:

Leave a Comment