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Pennsylvania father AVOIDS Turks and Caicos prison for having ammo in his luggage

One of five Americans detained in Turks and Caicos on weapons charges will be released after paying a hefty fine.

Bryan Hagerich, 39, from Pennsylvania, was charged with possession of firearms after loose bullets were allegedly found in his luggage in February.

A judge gave him a 52-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a $6,500 fine after he pleaded guilty in exchange for his release.

Ryan Watson, 40, Tyler Scott Wenrich, 31, and Sharitta Shinse Grier, 45, all remain trapped on the island, while Michael Lee Evans, 72, was bailed and allowed to fly back to the US as he has a serious medical condition. 

They claim they didn’t know any bullets were in their bags – saying they could have been left there after hunting trips or by mistake – and asked for mercy. 

Bryan Hagerich (pictured with his wife Ashley and their children, Palmer and Catherine) was arrested in February but will soon be home after a plea deal

A judge gave Hagerich (pictured with his kids) a 52-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a $6,500 fine after he pleaded guilty in exchange for his release

A judge gave Hagerich (pictured with his kids) a 52-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a $6,500 fine after he pleaded guilty in exchange for his release 

But a delegation of two US senators, three members of the House and embassy and state department representatives were ‘not able to find a path forward’ to secure their release, meaning they are still facing 12 years in prison.

Wenrich pleaded guilty on Tuesday and will be sentenced on May 28. Watson and Grier are yet to plead.

Hagerich, Watson, and Grier have been sharing an apartment under house arrest on the Caribbean island while they awaited their fates.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey welcomed the news Hagerich would soon be released and go home to his family.

‘I’m grateful that the authorities in Turks and Caicos exercised leniency and that Bryan Hagerich will soon be on his way home to his family in Somerset,’ he said. 

Sharitta Grier, center, is now living in a rental home on the island with Ryan Watson, left, and Bryan Hagerich, seen right, who were all caught with ammunition in their bags

Sharitta Grier, center, is now living in a rental home on the island with Ryan Watson, left, and Bryan Hagerich, seen right, who were all caught with ammunition in their bags 

Bryan Hagerich (left) and Ryan Watson (right) are both facing 12 years in Turks and Caicos prison after loose bullets were found in their luggage

Bryan Hagerich (left) and Ryan Watson (right) are both facing 12 years in Turks and Caicos prison after loose bullets were found in their luggage 

Hagerich before his sentencing said he was hopeful he would be able to get off the island instead of being jailed. 

‘I never in a million years thought I’d be in Turks and Caicos for over 100 days for a simple mistake,’ he told Fox News.

‘From the day that I was arrested, the end goal was to get off the island and go home to my family. To think that that day is potentially tomorrow, it’s every emotion under the sun. 

‘There’s obviously a lot of anxiety. There [are] a lot of prayers… from families, friends, folks we don’t even know across the world right now, to hopefully bring that outcome.’ 

Hagerich was about to head back home to the U.S. and insists he had no intention of bringing ammo to the islands.

He said being away from his family has been difficult.

‘As a father, it’s my responsibility to provide for my family, to protect my family, to support them in every way imaginable. And for me it’s just been catastrophic,’ he said in an earlier interview. 

Tyler Wenrich, 31, pictured with his wife Jeriann, is also facing 12 years in prison after two 9mm bullets were found in his luggage on April 20 as he departed a bachelor party cruise

Tyler Wenrich, 31, pictured with his wife Jeriann, is also facing 12 years in prison after two 9mm bullets were found in his luggage on April 20 as he departed a bachelor party cruise

Ryan Watson, 40, an avid hunter, said loose hunting bullets were found in his luggage as he and wife his Valerie left their vacation. He still remains on the island

Ryan Watson, 40, an avid hunter, said loose hunting bullets were found in his luggage as he and wife his Valerie left their vacation. He still remains on the island

Monday’s delegation was hoping to bring the Americans home, but Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma told the Miami Herald: ‘Despite our willingness to work with Turks and Caicos officials to get our constituents home, we were not able to find a path forward today.’

He added: ‘We went in respectful of their sovereignty, and with an open mind looking to find common ground.

‘At this point, well-intentioned American citizens are facing a dozen years in prison all for unknowingly having one or two bullets in their luggage. 

‘The unintended consequences of TCI’s law have been at the expense of well-intentioned American tourists, including a grandmother, who had no intention of breaking the law.’

If the tourists are not released and are jailed, Mullin said: ‘We will need to consider additional actions to safeguard American citizens.’

Following the meeting the Turks and Caicos Governor’s Office said the government has ‘clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and/or ammunition and strict penalties are in place to serve and protect all who reside and visit the Turks and Caicos Islands.’ 

A delegation of two US senators, three members of the House and embassy and state department representatives were 'not able to find a path forward' to secure the release of five US tourists facing a minimum of 12 years in prison

A delegation of two US senators, three members of the House and embassy and state department representatives were ‘not able to find a path forward’ to secure the release of five US tourists facing a minimum of 12 years in prison 

They added: ‘Where the court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge does have discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case.’ 

The territory tightened their gun laws two years ago and banned civilian firearms or ammunition. Under the stricter rules, offenders are sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison.   

Sharitta Shinese Grier, 45, was the fifth tourist to be arrested last Monday at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, with Turks and Caicos police saying bullets were found ‘during a routine security check.’ 

It is latest in a spate of arrests made on the island since February which have seen four others now facing charges after they were caught carrying ammo in their luggage. 

Willie Lucas, Grier’s mother said it was heartbreaking to leave her daughter behind on the island while the rest of the family returned home to Florida. 

‘I didn’t want to come home,’ she told Fox 35. ‘Be safe when you go out of town. Just be safe. Be careful and keep us in your prayers, cuz God knows we sure gonna need it.’ 

Ammunition was found in Sharitta Shinese Grier's luggage during a routine security check

Ammunition was found in Sharitta Shinese Grier’s luggage during a routine security check

Sharitta Shinese Grier is the fifth U.S. tourist to be arrested in Turks and Caicos

Sharitta Shinese Grier is the fifth U.S. tourist to be arrested in Turks and Caicos

Chanchy Willis, Grier’s cousin has said it was ‘just a horrible mistake’ that the ammunition was found. 

‘Just for two bullets? It was just a horrible mistake for all five of them,’ Willis said.

Grier will appear before a judge on July 5. 

None of the men who have been arrested – Watson of Oklahoma, Hagerich of Pennsylvania, Wenrich of Virginia, and Evans of Texas – are connected in any way. 

‘Watching the others and how they are close-knit, and reaching out to her, showing her that she’s not alone, they are all in this together, that brings joy to my heart,’ Willis said. 

Evans, 72, was granted $20,000 bail and given permission to return back to the U.S due to a medical condition, with reports indicating he is suffering from terminal cancer.  

Wenrich has been in Turks and Caicos since April 20. He was granted bail and is staying with his father. 

Willie Lucas, left, was at a loss for words upon learning that her daughter, Sharitta Grier, had been arrested while visiting the Turks and Caicos on charges of possessing ammunition

Willie Lucas, left, was at a loss for words upon learning that her daughter, Sharitta Grier, had been arrested while visiting the Turks and Caicos on charges of possessing ammunition 

Ryan Watson and his wife Valerie pictured together arriving at their Turks and Caicos vacation

Ryan Watson and his wife Valerie pictured together arriving at their Turks and Caicos vacation

Ryan Watson, 40, of Oklahoma, said his family was in the dark about his fate, and ‘we can’t set any kind of expectations on when I can be home to those kids.’ 

‘To not be with my kids, to not be home with Valerie right now, it’s the most awful thing that I have ever lived through at this point,’ he said during an interview last month.

He said getting back to his children is ‘and always will be, my ultimate goal.’ 

Watson has remained on the islands for almost a month as he faces a June 7 court date.

At one point his wife Valerie also faced prison before her charges were dropped.

A small bag of bullets in a ziplock bag were found in Ryan’s luggage, triggering questions as to how American TSA missed them when he left for the vacation through Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma. 

‘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 told Fox News. 

Michael Lee Evans, 72, was granted $20,000 bail and given permission to return back to the U.S due to a medical condition, with reports indicating he is suffering from terminal cancer

Michael Lee Evans, 72, was granted $20,000 bail and given permission to return back to the U.S due to a medical condition, with reports indicating he is suffering from terminal cancer

Bryan Hagerich, 39, was arrested in February

Ryan Tyler Watson, 40, was charged in April - both with possession of ammunition

Bryan Hagerich, 39, left, was arrested in February while Ryan Tyler Watson, 40, right, was charged in April – both with possession of ammunition

Watson has since missed both of his children’s birthdays, and said he is terrified of the prospect of missing their childhoods if he is sentenced to the full 12-year term.

‘Twelve years is a long time, and all those special things you look forward to as a parent, knowing you potentially couldn’t be there for those, that’s what keeps me up at night,’ he said.

‘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 now argue before the TCI Superior Court 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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