‘A prayer answered’: American detained for ammo in Turks and Caicos says of flight home

Written by on June 24, 2024

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — As Ryan Watson, an American tourist who had been charged with bringing ammunition to Turks and Caicos in April, boarded a plane after his release, he had only one thought on his mind.

“To know that I was on a plane headed home, that’s a prayer answered,” Watson said in an interview that aired Monday on ABC News’ Good Morning America.

A judge last week fined Watson $2,000 for four bullets discovered in his luggage as he landed in the country in April, with the judge citing “exceptional circumstances” to avoid a potential minimum sentence of 12 years in prison. Watson would face 13 weeks imprisonment if he commits a crime in Turks and Caicos in the next nine months, the court said.

Watson, a father of two from Oklahoma, was arrested on April 12 while returning with his wife from a trip to Turks and Caicos to celebrate several friends’ 40th birthdays.

There is no constitutional right to carry firearms in Turks and Caicos. The country prohibits anyone from keeping, carrying, discharging or using an unlicensed firearm or ammunition.

Watson speaking on GMA recounted his experience in Turks and Caicos, saying he would like awake at night, worrying about what might happen if he were put in prison.

“Like if things did go sideways, what my kids would look like when I did come out,” he said. “As a parent, that’s just not an easy thing to think about.”

He said his kids had been the first thing he thought of as he learned that he was facing more than a decade in prison if found guilty.

“Our kids first I mean, first and foremost, I initially and instantly think our kids aren’t going to have parents,” he said on GMA. “That was really hard to imagine.”

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