American arrested for bringing ammo to Turks and Caicos released, others await sentencing

One American tourist who was visiting Turks and Caicos was released from custody on a 12-month suspended sentence and given a fine while four others await sentencing.

Bryan Hagerich, a Somerset County, Pennsylvania resident, was released from custody on Friday and ordered to pay a $6,700 fine, according to a News Nation article.

Bryan Hagerich
Bryan Hagerich

“I’m thrilled to see Brian Hagerich home to Pennsylvania,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler wrote in a X post, formerly known as Twitter. “It’s time to bring me other four Americans still detained in Turks and Caicos home, too.”

A group of U.S. lawmakers visited Turks and Caicos this week. The delegation sought the release of Hagerich and four other Americans held on similar charges.

Why is ammo not allowed in Turks and Caicos?

The island cracked down on firearms and weapons within the country after implementing harsher gun laws in 2022. This was emphasized in a September 2023 alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas.

No ammunition, firearms or other weapons are not permitted in the Turks and Caicos. If a traveler is found with any of these items, they will have to serve a minimum sentence of 12 years, the embassy said.

The embassy also said tourists can declare that they have weapons within their luggage, however, Turks and Caicos authorities will not be able to secure their release from custody.

As more Americans visit the tropical island they are being detained for stray bullets begin found within their luggage.

Here’s what we know about the other Americans tourists that have been detained in Turks and Caicos this year.

'Boneheaded mistake': American found with ammo in luggage on Turks and Caicos faces 12 years

Other Americans detained in Turks and Caicos on ammo charges

Sharitta Grier

Sharitta Grier, 45, an Orlando, Florida resident, was charged with one count of possession of ammunition, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said.

During a routine search at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, Grier allegedly had ammunition in her luggage. Grier was charged on May 14 and appeared before the Magistrate Court on May 16, police said.

Police said Grier has a sufficiency hearing on July 5.

Ryan Watson

Ryan Watson, 40, was arrested on April 12 and charged with possession of ammunition after a routine check at the airport, police said.

Police said on April 24 Watson appeared in court and was granted $15,000 in bail under the following conditions:

  • Not travel out of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) without the court’s permission

  • Surrender his passport, and all other travel documents to the court

  • Report to Grace Bay police station on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Reside at the given address in Providenciales; any address change will be provided before the court

Watson will have a sufficiency hearing on June 7.

Tyler Wenrich

Tyler Wenrich, 31, a Virginia resident, was charged with possession of ammunition, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said.

Police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force arrested Wenrich on April 23. Wenrich traveled to the island on a cruise ship and while going through a security checkpoint ammunition was discovered, police said.

Police said Wenrich is in custody at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He is currenting waiting for aNhearing on June 7.

Michael Lee Evans

According to reports, Michael Lee Evans, a 72-year-old man from Texas, was arrested and charged with possession of ammunition back in December of 2023.

Evans was allowed to go back to the United States on bail due to his health while he awaits his sentencing next month, multiple outlets state.

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at Follow her on InstagramThreads and X (Twitter).

Contributing: Judy D.J. Ellich, The Daily American

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US tourists detained on ammo charges in Turks and Caicos: What to know