Oklahoma man pays $2K to avoid jail for bullets found in suitcase while in Turks and Caicos

June 21 (UPI) -- American tourist Ryan Watson avoided jail time in the Turks and Caicos on Friday by paying a $2,000 fine for bullets found in his luggage at Howard Hamilton International Airport in April.

Watson, who lives in Oklahoma, was facing up to 12 years in prison after he was arrested on April 12 while returning with his wife from a trip to Turks and Caicos to celebrate the birthday of several friends.


He was released on bond after his arrest but was not allowed the leave the island until Friday, when the judge cited "exceptional circumstances" in allowing him to pay the fine, $500 for each bullet found.

Watson entered a guilty plea for owning ammunition on the island. He said he did not realize he had the bullets, used for hunting, in the carry-on bag when he traveled there.

Family spokesman Jonathan Franks said on X that Watson will pay the fine and will be flying out on Friday to return home.

Watson was one of several Americans who ended up in a legal bind under the strict weapons rules in the Turks and Caicos. Last month, Tyler Wenrich, of Virginia, was ordered to pay $9,000 after he was sentenced to time served for bringing ammunition to the islands.


He was found with bullets in his backpack while on Grand Turk to attend a bachelor's party.

Bryan Hagerich, of Pennsylvania, was released in May after he was initially arrested in February while vacationing on the island with is wife and two children.

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