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American Pleads Guilty to Ammo Charges in Turks and Caicos, Faces 12-Year Minimum Sentence


Five Americans were caught bringing guns into Turks and Caicos. One of them has pleaded guilty and will spend at least 12 years in jail.

A paramedic from Virginia named Tyler Wenrich, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of having ammunition on Tuesday morning, according to Dr. Angela Brooks, who is the deputy head of public prosecutions in Turks and Caicos, as reported by CNN.

It is against the law to have guns or ammo on the Caribbean island chain, which is a British Overseas Territory. In the past few months, five Americans have been arrested after ammunition was found in their luggage.

In April, Wenrich was caught at a security stop on his way back to the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship from a trip to the beach with only two 9mm rounds in his bag. Wenrich said it was an honest mistake because he had the ammunition in his bag from other shooting trips.

The dad could now go to jail for twelve years. He is going to get his sentence on May 28.

Wenrich told WPVI, “I live in fear and worry a lot.”

“You know, I think the best thing that could happen is that the judge will be kind and understanding and not give the 12-year sentence. Instead, I hope they can give a sentence that is shorter than that and a fine.”

A group of US lawmakers from both parties recently went to Turks and Caicos to ask for the freedom of Wenrich and four other Americans who are being held there: Sharitta Grier, 45; Michael Lee Evans, 72; Bryan Hagerich; and Ryan Tyler Watson, 40.

Each is being charged with having different amounts of ammo on them. Evans has also admitted to the crime and is now waiting for his sentence.

OK Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who led the trip, said in a statement on Monday, “Unfortunately, even though we were willing to work with Turks and Caicos officials to get our constituents home, we were not able to find a way forward today.”

People in the United States who mean well could spend twelve years in jail for having one or two bullets in their luggage without knowing it.

The government said in a statement that it is “strictly forbidden” to bring guns or ammo into Turks and Caicos without permission from the government.

The US Embassy in the Bahamas warned in April that people who break the rule will spend at least 12 years in prison.

But judges can reduce fines and sentences in “unusual circumstances,” the attorney general of Turks and Caicos said earlier this month, according to CNN.

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