Americans Arrested In Turks And Caicos Bunk, Pray Together

The airport was hectic as Ryan Watson and his wife were preparing to fly home to Oklahoma after celebrating his 40th birthday on the archipelago’s white sands.

A search of his duffel bag was slowing things down, but two of his friends who came along were ribbing him for it: He inadvertently left a few hunting rounds in the bag — a rookie mistake, but not a big deal, he thought.

But a law enforcement officer faced the tourist and stopped his world from spinning, as authorities had done in recent months to four other U.S. travelers in the island nation, informing him that possession of ammunition is a serious crime that could put years between him and the couple’s children, a 7-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl, waiting for them at home.

Watson and Sharitta Grier, two of the five Americans who have recently been detained in Turks and Caicos under a law that prohibits possession of firearms or ammunition, spoke to NBC News on Thursday ahead of the Friday sentencing of Bryan Hagerich, a U.S. citizen who was detained in a similar situation in February.

The three are former strangers who have formed a close bond while living together at an Airbnb on the island, out on bail and awaiting their sentencing.

On April 12, at Howard Hamilton International Airport, Ryan and Valerie Watson were still expecting to jet home. The gravity of the allegations had not collided with the tropics of their mind.

Read more here from NBC News.