Couple detained in Caribbean over bullets in bag

Couple detained in Caribbean over bullets in bag

Friday, 26 Apr, 2024 1

An Oklahoma man is facing a long stretch in prison in the Caribbean after admitting a ‘bonehead mistake.’

Ryan and Valerie Watson enjoyed a 40th birthday vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands without incident.

However, when checking in for their return flight home, the couple were detained.

A security scan found a bag of bullets in Ryan Watson’s bag.

These were there by mistake from a previous hunting trip, the Watsons said.

Both were detained on the British Overseas Territory for two weeks but Valerie Watson has now been allowed to return home.

Her husband is still in the Turks and Caicos with his passport confiscated.

The Watsons were questioned and then charged with possession of ammunition.

The offense has a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 12 years.

Last year the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas updated its travel advice due to the conviction of an American found with ammo in a bag.

“Check your luggage for stray ammunition or forgotten weapons before departing for TCI. If you bring a firearm or ammunition into TCI, we will not be able to secure your release from custody,” it said.

“You are subject to TCI laws and must follow local law enforcement procedures.”

Another American, Bryan Hagerich, is currently in TCI awaiting a first court appearance on a similar charge when bullets were found in his bag.

He has been unable to leave the country for more than two months.

A GoFundMe appeal has raised nearly $200,000 for the Watsons. 

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TravelMole Editorial Team

Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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