4th American arrested for ammo possession in Turks and Caicos gets suspended sentence

A judge on Monday handed down a suspended sentence to the fourth of five Americans recently arrested for bringing ammunition to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Michael Lee Evans of Texas was given a 33-week suspended sentence, court officials confirmed to CBS News. He earlier pleaded guilty to possessing seven 9 mm rounds that were found in his luggage while he was in the territory late last year, the news network reported.

He had faced a minimum sentence of 12 years if a judge failed to find exceptional circumstances that would justify a shorter sentence. In the Turks and Caicos, it’s illegal to bring ammunition into the country without getting prior approval from police.

Evans had been allowed to return to the U.S. on bail due to a “severe” medical situation, CNN reported. He was described as “terminally ill” by CBS. The 72-year-old attended Monday’s hearing by video link from Texas, according to the news network.

Three other Americans have been sentenced in recent weeks on similar charges after authorities found ammunition in their luggage.

Last week, a judge gave Oklahoma resident Ryan Watson a 13-week suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine after officials found four rounds of ammunition in a duffel bag while he was returning home to the U.S. in April.

Last month, a judge sentenced Virginia man Tyler Wenrich to time served and ordered he pay a $9,000 fine after officials found two bullets in his backpack in April. Earlier, a judge handed down a 52-week suspended sentence and a $6,700 fine for Pennsylvania man Bryan Hagerich, who was found with hunting ammunition in his luggage.

One other American, Florida resident Sharitta Grier, is expected to be in a Turks and Caicos court on Tuesday to face one count of possession of ammunition, WFTV reported. Authorities arrested Grier at an airport in May after she traveled to the territory for a Mother’s Day trip. Authorities found two bullets in her carry-on bag, according to WFTV.

The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas previously warned people not to bring firearms, ammunition or other weapons into Turks and Caicos, pointing to the territory’s strict firearms laws. Officials urged Americans to ask police or prison officials to “immediately” notify the U.S. Embassy if they are arrested or detained abroad.

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