Florida woman becomes 5th American arrested in Turks and Caicos for carrying ammo

Florida woman becomes 5th American arrested in Turks and Caicos for carrying ammo

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force on Thursday confirmed the Monday arrest of a Florida woman accused of carrying ammunition at an airport in the islands.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt initially shared news of Sharitta Shinese Grier’s arrest in a Wednesday interview with Fox News Digital after he sent a letter to Turks and Caicos Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam urging the release of three Americans currently detained in the islands, along with Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Grier, 45, is the fifth American to be arrested and detained in TCI after being caught with ammunition in an airport since February, along with Ryan Watson of Oklahoma, Tyler Wenrich of Virginia, Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania and Michael Lee Evans of Texas.

“The particulars of the offence state that on Monday, May 13th, 2024, during a routine search at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, Providenciales, Ms. Grier allegedly had ammunition in her possession,” the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said in a Thursday press release.

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Grier’s attorney told Fox News Digital that she could not comment on her client’s case at the time of publication.

Watson, Hagerich and Wenrich’s father previously spoke with Fox News Digital about their arrests over stray ammunition found in their luggage. 

TURKS AND CAICOS COURT HEARING FOR AMERICAN ARRESTED WITH AMMO IN BAG COULD SET NEW PRECEDENT

All three men have said they were traveling home from their respective vacations when TCI airport security officials found stray bullets in their bags — a crime punishable by a minimum 12-year sentence under a recent TCI ordinance. The three men have also said they had no intention of bringing ammo to the islands but had forgotten it in their bags from prior hunting trips.

“We had no intentions of ever bringing anything into this country. . . . It was just trying to pack board shorts and flip-flops, and that was all we were concerned about bringing,” Watson previously told Fox News Digital. “So … it never dawned on us to research any of these things. And there are a lot of locals that have been just such a blessing and have had such gracious hearts.”

The detainees must argue before the TCI Superior Court that they were arrested under “exceptional circumstances,” which includes proving they have no prior criminal record, they did not intend to bring ammunition into the airport and why a 12-year sentence would be excessive in their cases. 

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“It was never my intent to come here with ammunition,” Hagerich previously told Fox News Digital. “It’s just a tragedy. The separation from my wife and family has just been catastrophic.”

People in Turks and Caicos do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms, the government said in an April press release following news of the Americans’ arrests.

OKLAHOMA MAN WITH AMMO IN TURKS AND CAICOS AIRPORT FACES 12 YEARS IN PRISON: ‘RISK OF LOSING EVERYTHING’

“The government reminds that the Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws against the possession of firearms and or ammunition and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community,” the press release said. “Firearm and or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of 12 years plus a fine.”

The State Department recently issued a PSA on X saying that Americans “can be arrested for having any ammunition, even a single stray shell or casing” in many countries. The Department prompted travelers to check pockets and “every nook and cranny” of suitcases “before traveling to avoid running into problems overseas.”

Stitt and Youngkin, both Republicans; and Shapiro, a Democrat, are asking Turks and Caicos to “reconsider” the charges filed against Watson, Wenrich and Hagerich and “expedite their release back to their families as soon as possible.”

“As governors, we understand and appreciate the critical importance of upholding the laws and regulations of your territory for the protection of your citizens,” they wrote. “We humbly ask that your government — in its wisdom — temper justice with mercy and recognize that these men made mistakes but had no apparent malicious intent.”

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