American arrested in Turks and Caicos over ammo found in bag gets suspended sentence of 52 weeks


CBS News 24/7


An American tourist that was arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands He received a 52-week suspended sentence on Friday for possession of ammunition earlier this year and was expected to be released, a spokesman posted on social media. A spokesman for Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania initially said the sentence was 52 months and later corrected the length of the sentence.

Hagerich was one several Americans faces a possible mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison on ammunition charges in British territory. According to spokesman Jonathan Franks, the judge found that the case had exceptional circumstances and that the long sentence would be arbitrary. The father of two will also have to pay a $6,700 fine.

Hagerich had pleaded guilty to possessing 20 rifle cartridges, according to the Turks and Caicos government. He was arrested in February when ammunition was found in his checked bag and said he spent eight nights in jail before being released on bail.

“Some of the darkest, most difficult times of my life, frankly,” Hagerich told CBS News last month.

Hagerich told the media that he didn't know he took the hunting ammunition on a family vacation to Turks and Caicos, but acknowledged it when authorities found it in his bag.

Three more americansCases are pending in the archipelago southeast of the Bahamas. A fifth American who was also recently charged was allowed to return home for medical reasons.

In a similar case last year, an Indiana man served more than five months in prison.

“There's no clean running water, you're exposed to the environment 24/7, mosquitoes and tropical diseases are a real concern,” Michael Grim told CBS News.

Kris Van Cleave contributed to the report.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.


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