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This American was fined $500 per bullet he accidentally took on Turks and Caicos vacation

(CNN) — One of several Americans recently charged with having ammunition in Turks and Caicos is expected to go home after a court issued a suspended sentence and fined him $2,000.
Ryan Tyler Watson of Oklahoma pleaded guilty last month to possessing four rounds of ammunition, a spokesperson for the government of Turks and Caicos said. He had been released on bail and ordered to stay on the islands while awaiting this sentence.
On Friday, Watson received a 13-week suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine – $500 per bullet, a spokesperson for the Turks and Caicos Islands Supreme Court told CNN on Friday.
Watson will not need to serve the 13-week sentence “as long as he doesn’t commit any crimes and keeps the peace in the TCI within 9 months,” the court spokesperson said. Watson “is now allowed to leave … as he’s now cleared with the justice in the TCI.”
Watson is expected to return to Oklahoma City by Friday night, according to Jonathan Franks, a spokesperson for Bring Our Families Home.
“We will make payment shortly, depart TCI and anticipate being home in OKC tonight,” Franks posted on X from the courthouse.
Watson was visiting Turks and Caicos with his wife in April to celebrate several friends’ 40th birthdays. But bringing firearms or ammunition into Turks and Caicos without prior permission from police is “strictly forbidden.”
The British Overseas Territory doesn’t manufacture guns or ammunition, yet the number of firearms making their way to the islands has increased, Turks and Caicos Premier C. Washington Misick said in May. By contrast, the United States has more guns than people.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the law stands firm and applies to everyone equally, without exception,” Misick said in a statement last month.
Turks and Caicos recently revised part of its firearms law after a bipartisan group of US Congress members traveled to the islands southeast of the Bahamas and asked officials to drop charges against five Americans whom they said “inadvertently” had ammunition in their luggage.
The new amendment clarifies when sentencing for firearms-related offenses, courts have the discretion to impose either a fine, a custodial sentence, or a mixture of both in exceptional circumstances.
Previously, the law required courts to impose both a fine and a prison sentence of 12 years – though it allowed reduced sentences under “exceptional circumstances.”
Watson is the first of those five Americans to be sentenced under the amended firearms law, which went into effect Wednesday.
What’s happened to the other Americans
At least four other Americans have recently been arrested in Turks and Caicos on charges of having ammunition.
Bryan Hagerich is back in the United States after receiving a suspended 52-week sentence and a $6,700 fine. Hagerich was allowed to leave the territory and return to the US after he paid the fine, his attorney Oliver Smith said.
Tyler Wenrich pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served and issued a $9,000 fine, according to court records.
Michael Lee Evans pleaded guilty to possession of seven 9 mm rounds of ammunition, and was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday – though it is unclear based on court records if the sentencing happened. CNN has reached out to his attorney for more information.
And Sharitta Shinese Grier is expected to plead guilty in court next Tuesday, her attorney Sheena C. Mairto told CNN.
The Florida mother said she had no idea two rounds of ammunition were at the bottom of her luggage when she traveled to Turks and Caicos, according to CNN affiliate WFTV.
Grier was released on bail but can’t leave the islands until her case ends, the affiliate reported. She was also ordered to report to a police station weekly.
The post This American was fined $500 per bullet he accidentally took on Turks and Caicos vacation appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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