Oklahoma Man Arrested In Turks And Caicos Returning Home

Ryan Watson, an Edmond man arrested in Turks and Caicos after ammunition was found in his luggage, will be returning to Oklahoma Friday night.

Friday, June 21st 2024, 11:09 am

By: News 9

An Edmond man who was arrested two months ago in Turks and Caicos after ammunition was found in his luggage will be returning to Oklahoma Friday night.

According to the public relations firm representing Watson's family, on Friday, Ryan Watson arrived at around 10 a.m. in court to be present for his sentencing.

RELATED: Oklahoman Awaits Sentence In Turks And Caicos Ammunition Case, Family Staying 'Cautiously Optimistic'

Watson was given a 13-week sentence, suspended for nine months. He was also fined $500 for each bullet found in his luggage, for a total fine of $2,000.

Watson was taken into custody after ammunition leftover from a prior hunting trip was found in his carry-on as he was passing through airport security on his way back to the United States.

Watson is not the only American tourist to face ammunition charges in Turks and Caicos, as four others have been arrested after bullets were found by airport security.

US Senators Markwayne Mullin and Rep. Josh Breechen, both of whom are lawmakers representing Oklahoma in Washington D.C., have visited the island in May to discuss the arrests, and while unable to negotiate the release of the detained Americans, two have returned home after being given fines and shortened sentences.

Turks and Caicos Gov. Daniel-Selvaratnam defended the country's laws, and said no American has received the full sentence, the punishment for which was 12 years in prison until last week, when the island's government amended its gun control law to allow for more lenient sentencing in these types of cases.

This case led to changes at Will Rogers World Airport, from Which Watson and his family departed from on their trip to Turks and Caicos, and brought action from U.S. lawmakers.

U.S. Sen James Lankford sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration, asking how it managed to allow citizens to go to Turks and Caicos with ammo in their bags.

The TSA said officers will receive additional training on how to catch those items, with failure to do leaving the possibility of them being placed on administrative leave, or being terminated from their position.

Governor Kevin Stitt shared a statement in response to the sentencing:

"For two months, the Watson family has faced great uncertainty. But Ryan and his family kept the faith. Today, prayers have been answered and Ryan will come home to Oklahoma.
I’m grateful to our congressional delegation, especially Sen. Mullin, Sen. Lankford, and Rep. Breechen, for their advocacy. We stand up our fellow Oklahomans.
I wish Ryan, Valerie, and their children the very best as they reconnect and heal from their time apart. May God bless their family."

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