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American arrested in Turks and Caicos on ammo charges

May 16, 2024

(CNN) — Another US tourist was arrested Monday in Turks and Caicos after being accused of carrying ammunition into the islands.

That makes this the fifth arrest in recent months of a US national on ammunition possession charges in the British Overseas Territory, a chain of 40 islands located in the tropical Atlantic Ocean southeast of the Bahamas.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said in a news release that Sharitta Shinese Grier, 45, of Orlando, Florida, was charged with one count of possession of ammunition after a routine security search at the Howard Hamilton International Airport on the island of Providenciales on May 13.

The search found that Grier had ammunition in her possession, the news release said.

Grier appeared in the Turks and Caicos Magistrate Court on Thursday and remains in custody until her next court appearance on July 5, police said.

CNN has not been able to determine whether Grier has an attorney or to reach her family for comment.

Four others face ammo charges

Earlier this month, the Turks and Caicos Government released a statement confirming that four Americans were charged with possession of ammunition offences.

All four are accused of bringing varying amounts of ammunition into the islands, and some have publicly said that they did so accidentally.

Carrying firearms in Turks and Caicos is prohibited, according to the TCI Government.

Bringing firearms or ammunition, including stray bullets, into the British Overseas Territory without prior permission from police is “strictly forbidden.”

Individuals who violate the law face a minimum of 12 years in prison, the US Embassy in the Bahamas stated in an April advisory.

On May 8, the Turks and Caicos Attorney General said in a news release that judges have discretion to lower the minimum sentence and adjust fines when there are “exceptional circumstances.”

One of the US nationals facing charges, Bryan Hagerich, is expected to be sentenced on May 29, according to a lawyer representing him.

Hagerich pleaded guilty to possession of 20 rounds of ammunition and was detained at Hamilton International in February.

Governors make appeals of mercy

Three US governors have signed a letter addressed to Turks and Caicos Gov. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam addressing the recent arrests.

Govs. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia wrote to their Turks and Caicos counterpart asking her to “reconsider the charges” and “expedite their release” for three of the men arrested – one from each of the governors’ respective states.

“They have all maintained that they did not intend to bring ammunition into Turks and Caicos,” the three governors wrote in the letter. “We humbly ask that your government – in its wisdom – temper justice with mercy and recognise that these men made mistakes but had no apparent malicious intent.”

(Photo by Mikolajn/iStockphoto/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

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