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3 governors urge Turks and Caicos to ‘reconsider’ ammo charges against trio of US tourists: ‘There were no guns’

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A trio of US governors on Tuesday called on Turks and Caicos authorities to “expedite” the release of three Americans who were recently charged with carrying ammunition in their luggage while vacationing in tropical British territory.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt requested that Turks and Caicos Gov. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam drop the ammunition offenses against their respective residents via a letter.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was one of three governors calling on the charges to be dropped. AP

Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania, Tyler Wenrich of Virginia and Ryan Watson of Oklahoma were all arrested at separate times dating back to February while vacationing on the chain of islands.

The minimum prison sentence for carrying ammunition in Turks and Caicos is 12 years, though all three have said it was a careless mistake.

Hagerich, 39, Wenrich, 31, and Watson, 40, were also not carrying firearms on the sunny vacation that turned into a nightmare. The ammo they had was from lawful conduct in the US, the governors noted.

“As governors, we understand and appreciate the critical importance of upholding the laws and regulations of your territory for the protection of your citizens,” the three governors wrote in a letter shared with The Post.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro also signed onto the letter asking Turks and Caicos to show “mercy” to the three men. AP

“We humbly ask that your government — in its wisdom — temper justice with mercy and recognize that these men made mistakes but had no apparent malicious intent.

“We respectfully request you reconsider the charges … and expedite their release back to their respective states and families as soon as possible,” added Shapiro, a Democrat, and Republicans Youngkin and Stitt.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the men’s consequences far outweigh the crimes. BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Stitt told Fox News the potential punishments the three tourists face don’t fit the crimes.

“These people were leaving the country. There was no intent. They weren’t trying to harm anybody,” Stitt said. “They weren’t using guns. Let me make sure everybody knows: there were no guns.”

Watson and his wife Valerie, the parents of two young kids, were on the island for a friend’s 40th birthday when they were both detained, though Valerie was later let go. He’s back in court next month.

Hagerich, a father of two, was arrested and charged in February, and he recently appeared for a hearing last Friday, WPIX reported. He’s stranded on the island for at least another three weeks before sentencing.

Both men have already pleaded guilty to the possession of ammunition.

Ryan Watson could face 12 years in prison for his mistake. Turks and Caicos police

And Wenrich, a father of a 1-year-old boy, was arrested on April 20 after two 9mm rounds were discovered in his bag as he tried to get back on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, NBC 10 Boston reported. He appeared in court this week with a plea hearing set for next week, WTVR reported.  

Another US tourist was arrested on Monday after ammunition was allegedly found in the person’s luggage at the Turks and Caicos airport, CBS News reported.

A 72-year-old Texas man was previously arrested in December on a similar charge before he pleaded guilty in April, according to reports. His sentencing is set for June.

Turks and Caicos officials implemented the strict law in 2022 with the US Embassy in Nassau issuing an advisory last year warning American to leave their ammunition behind when traveling to the vacation hot spot. 

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