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


CBS News 24/7


An American tourist who was arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands earlier this year for possessing ammunition was given a suspended sentence of 52 weeks on Friday and was expected to be released, a spokesperson posted to social media. The spokesperson for Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania initially said the sentence was 52 months long and then corrected the length of the sentence.

Hagerich was one of several Americans facing a potential mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison on ammunition charges in the British territory. According to spokesperson Jonathan Franks, the judge found that the case had exceptional circumstances and that the lengthy 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 rounds, according to the Turks and Caicos government. He was arrested in February when the ammunition was found in his checked bag, and he said he spent eight nights in jail before he was released on bail.

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

Hagerich told news outlets he didn’t know he brought the hunting ammunition on a family vacation to Turks and Caicos but he recognized it when authorities found it in his bag.

Three other Americans‘ cases 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.

“No clean running water, you’re kind of exposed to the environment 24/7, mosquitoes and tropical illnesses are a real concern,” Michael Grim told CBS News.

Kris Van Cleave contributed reporting.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.    

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