Four Americans face 12 years in prison for bringing live ammunition into Turks and Caicos

Four Americans are charged with munitions offenses within the tropical Atlantic paradise of Turks and Caicos. based on one post by the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

According to the TCI government, carrying firearms is prohibited in Turks and Caicos. Bringing firearms or ammunition, including cluster bullets, into the British Overseas Territory without prior police approval is “strictly prohibited”.

Those who break the law will face minimum punishment 12 years in prisonsaid an April statement from the US Embassy within the Bahamas. In a contribution from the island government

One of the people, Ryan Watson, was reportedly arrested on April 12 at Howard Hamilton International Airport on Providenciales Island TCI Police.

According to a report, Watson and his wife Valerie were arrested upon their departure from Turks and Caicos, where they’d celebrated the fortieth birthdays of several of their friends GoFundMe page arrange to assist the family with expenses.

Airport security found 4 rounds of ammunition “unknowingly left in a duffel bag from a deer hunting trip,” the post said.

Valerie Watson was released from the fees and was allowed to return to Oklahoma, based on an April 23 update to the fundraising page. The site doesn’t give a reason for her release.

The TCI government has declined to comment further on the arrested Americans.

After posting $15,000 bail, Watson was released from jail on April 24 but was required to give up his passport and remain within the archipelago, TCI police said. His next court hearing is scheduled for June 7.

The ammunition was “not noticed by the TSA upon leaving America,” the GoFundMe post says. “Now they face a legal system that is unfamiliar, daunting and expensive.”

In a press release to CNN on Wednesday, the TSA confirmed that 4 rounds of ammunition weren’t discovered in a traveler's bag during a security check at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, from where Watson traveled.

“TSA takes its security mission very seriously,” a TSA spokesperson said. “TSA is here to protect our transportation security systems and an oversight occurred that the agency is addressing internally.”

The agency added that it’s working to perfect systems that detect prohibited items to make sure a smooth and secure journey.

Another man visiting Turks and Caicos from Pennsylvania is scheduled to seem in TCI court on Friday on similar charges CNN affiliate WPXI.

Arrested in February

Bryan Hagerich was arrested while attempting to fly home from vacation in February.

Similar to Watson, Hagerich said he didn't know he had ammunition in one among his bags, based on CNN affiliate WPXI. His wife, Ashley, called it an honest mistake.

“This is a bag that my husband has used many times on hunting trips and at hunting camp and it was just left in a safe bag and just forgotten about,” Ashley told WPXI. “The crime simply doesn’t fit the punishment and the consequences.”

According to the TCI government, Hagerich pleaded guilty to carrying 20 rifle cartridges.

CNN has reached out to the Watson and Hagerich families for more details about their cases and is trying to succeed in attorneys for each men.

According to the TCI government, two other Americans – a 31-year-old from Virginia and a 72-year-old from Texas – also face lengthy prison sentences for ammunition possession.

“Travellers are strongly advised to search their luggage before traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not accidentally bring prohibited items,” the TCI government post said. “During Transportation Security Administration inspections in the United States, ammunition in a traveler’s luggage may not be identified.”

Airline passengers are also encouraged to examine local laws when traveling internationally and to pack for travel with empty luggage, the TSA said.

Do your research before traveling to Turks and Caicos

Potential tourists considering a visit to Turks and Caicos have done so Access to alerts from TCI and the US State Department on the British Overseas Territory's firearms and ammunition laws – when you know where to seek out them online.

There can be more detailed information concerning the departments Turks and Caicos website under the heading “Local Laws and Special Circumstances.” Travelers can obtain necessary information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for each goal here.

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