Florida woman and four others detained in Turks and Caicos on weapons charges

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd was one of several U.S. lawmakers who traveled to the Turks and Caicos Islands to try to free an Orlando woman and four other people detained for possession of ammunition, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Sharitta Shinise Grier, 45, was arrested on May 13 after ammunition was found in her bag during a search at the island’s international airport, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police said.

Grier told NBC10 Boston that two rounds of ammunition fell under the flap of his carry-on luggage, a bag he uses to carry a gun for self-protection in the US.

“He “It was an honest mistake, it fell under the flap of my carry-on,” Grier said. “There was no possible way I could see it because it’s a flap at the bottom. They removed the bottom flap of the bag. That’s where the two bullets were at the bottom of that flap. So, it is not possible that I would have met or seen them there.”

“My first mission was to verify the safety and well-being of Ms. Grier and the other Americans on the island,” Byrd said on social media. “The second was to determine how we can expedite her release and prevent this from happening to other Americans in the future. I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved.”

Bryd was joined by U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, and U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma, Michael Cloud of Texas and Bob Good of Virginia.

The delegation met with Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, the British-appointed governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and other senior officials. Despite their efforts, Senator Mullin said they “couldn’t find a way forward,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The other U.S. citizens facing charges in the islands are Michael Lee Evans, 72, of Texas; Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania; Oklahoma’s Ryan Tyler Watson; and Tyler Scott Wenrich, 31, of Virginia.

The group faces 12 years in prison. Grier’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 5, the Turks and Caicos Sun newspaper reported.

The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas issued a travel advisory for citizens heading to the Turks and Caicos Islands on April 24, urging travelers to check their luggage for lost ammunition or forgotten weapons before leaving. the states.

“We want to remind all travelers that declaring a weapon in your luggage to an airline does not grant permission to bring the weapon into the Turks and Caicos Islands and will result in your arrest. TSA checkpoints in the United States may not identify ammunition in your luggage; It is your responsibility to ensure that your luggage is free of ammunition and/or firearms.”