Deer hunter faces 12 years in prison for accidentally bringing ammo on vacation to Turks and Caicos

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A tourist from Oklahoma is living out a traveling hunter’s nightmare in Turks and Caicos, where he was detained and jailed after customs officials found some forgotten ammunition in his luggage. The man could now face up to 12 years in prison due to a strict law that prohibits the possession of firearms, ammo, and other weapons in the British Overseas Territory, according to NBC News.

Ryan Watson, of Oklahoma City, had flown with his wife and two friends to the small Caribbean island on April 7. He had plans to celebrate his 40th birthday there. Those plans were quickly derailed when airport authorities found a small Ziploc bag in the couple’s carry-on luggage that contained several rounds of ammunition. Watson claims the baggie was left inside the duffel bag accidentally after a deer hunting trip.

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“They were hunting ammunition rounds that I use for whitetail deer,” Watson told NBC Boston last week. “I recognized them and thought, ‘Oh man, what a bonehead mistake.’”

The Watsons were immediately arrested and charged. Their passports were also seized by the authorities.

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During the couple’s initial court hearing on Tuesday, the charges against Watson’s wife, Valerie, were dropped and she was allowed to return to Oklahoma City. Friends of the Watsons have set up a GoFundMe page to cover fines and legal fees, and the page explains that a trial date has not yet been set. Watson had been in jail for over two weeks as of April 23.

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