Oklahoma man returning to US after ammo arrest in Turks and Caicos

The Oklahoma man who was facing 12 years in a tropical prison after Turks and Caicos authorities found four stray bullets in his luggage is coming back to the United States after a months-long ordeal.

Ryan Watson, 40, was arrested in April at the country’s main airport.

At his sentencing hearing Friday, Watson received a suspended 13-week jail sentence and a fine of $2,000 – or $500 per bullet, according to family spokesman Jonathan Franks.

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Watson was expected to pay the fine and get on a flight to Oklahoma City before the end of the day.

After the sentencing, the judge urged American travelers bound for Turks and Caicos to double-check their bags and asked the Transportation Safety Administration to screen outgoing travelers.

Watson is one of at least five Americans arrested this year who were arrested for violating Turks and Caicos’ ammunition law.

Watson previously told Fox News Digital he had no intention of bringing ammunition on his vacation and that the bullets had been forgotten in his bag after a prior hunting trip.

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Watsons kiss, reunited outside courthouse

The country’s parliament agreed unanimously earlier this week to revise the new ordinance after “a great deal of flacking” from American lawmakers, the country’s Newsline TCI reported.

In May, a bipartisan congressional delegation flew to Turks and Caicos and appealed in person for the U.S. citizens’ release.

“This legislative change is a critical step in ensuring our legal system is both just and flexible,” the parliament’s opposition leader Edwin Astwood told The Sun TCI, another local paper. “It acknowledges that not all cases are alike and that our judges must have the ability to consider all factors and impose sentences that are truly just and appropriate.”

Ryan Watson and Valerie Watson on vacation in Turks and Caicos.

He said the goal is to uphold the rule of law — but also to differentiate between genuine threats and people who made a mistake.

The other Americans charged under the ordinance include Bryan Hagerich, a 39-year-old Pennsylvania father of two and former professional baseball player, who came home after more than 100 days in jail after the court agreed to fine him $6,500 and avoid prison.

Texas’ Michael Lee Evans, 72, pleaded guilty to possessing seven rounds of ammunition, according to The Sun TCI. He was still awaiting sentencing but had been allowed to return to the U.S. due to a serious illness, according to authorities.

Virginia’s Tyler Wenrich was freed in May after paying a $10,000 fine. Sharitta Grier, of Florida, is also awaiting her sentencing.

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