Fetterman Aids in Release of American Held in Turks and Caicos for Ammo in Luggage

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Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) celebrated the release of a Pennsylvania detainee by authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands after an accidental incident involving ammunition.

Bryan Hagerich, 39, had been detained for three months after officials discovered ammunition accidentally packed in his luggage. It is against the law to possess, discharge, or carry unlicensed ammunition or firearms in the country. A 2022 amendment set a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison for violations.

Fetterman visited the island last weekend to meet with officials regarding the release of Hagerich and four other Americans detained for similar reasons. A judge subsequently granted Hagerich a 52-week suspended sentence.

“When we met with TCI officials a few days ago, they made clear that they wanted this situation resolved,” Fetterman said. “They recognized that Bryan and the other detained Americans are not gunrunners – they are just people who made a mistake. I’m grateful that the judge recognized that the right thing to do was to send Bryan home. I’m also grateful to the U.S. State Department which has been a critical partner in bringing Bryan home.”

Hagerich will have to pay a fine upon returning to the United States to permanently commute his sentence. Failure to pay the fine will result in serving a prison sentence in Turks and Caicos.

However, other detainees remain, including Ryan Watson, 40; Tyler Scott Wenrich, 31; Sharitta Shinse Grier, 45; and Michael Lee Evans, 72. Evans and Wenrich pleaded guilty, allowing Evans to return to the U.S. for medical treatment, though he is expected to return to the island. Watson, detained since April 12, has a court date on June 7.

“I’m hopeful that TCI expedites the rest of these cases and that the other detained Americans will soon be released and reunited with their families as well,” Fetterman wrote.

Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry covers social media and trending news. She’s a 2020 Brigham Young University graduate with a major in communications and minor in Japanese. She was born in Utah and has previous newsroom experience at the Salt Lake Tribune and Utah’s NPR station.

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