Virginia father detained in Turks and Caicos for stray ammo pleads guilty

Wenrich flew from Virginia to Florida, where he boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise for a "wedding party," all without the bullets being detected. (TCI Police)

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to one count of possession of ammunition in Turks and Caicos (TCI) after airport security found stray bullets in his luggage as he prepared to fly home last month.

Five Americans have been arrested and detained since February for possessing ammunition on the islands under a new ordinance that requires both residents and tourists to face a minimum 12-year sentence for possessing ammunition. At least three of those Americans have told Fox News Digital they did not realize they had ammunition in their bags in the first place.

Tyler Wenrich, a husband and father to a 1-year-old son, was initially arrested on April 20 following a wedding party in TCI and pleaded guilty in court on Monday, when both prosecutors and his defense team presented oral arguments, he told Fox News Digital.

He is expecting his sentencing hearing to be scheduled within the next week.

Wenrich flew from Virginia to Florida, where he boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise for the wedding party, all without the bullets being detected, his father, Michael Wenrich, previously told Fox News Digital. The cruise docked, and the party spent some time in Grand Turk before Wenrich was eventually detained when he was caught with two stray bullets in his bag while returning home.

Wenrich's plea comes a day after a bipartisan congressional delegation visited TCI to ask government leaders to release the Americans detained for having stray ammo in their bags.

The latest arrest came on May 15 when authorities took Sharitta Grier, a mother from Florida, into custody. The others include Ryan Watson of Oklahoma, Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania and Michael Lee Evans of Texas.

Tyler Wenrich faces a minimum 12-year prison sentence after two stray bullets were found in his luggage at a Turks and Caicos airport. (Michael Wenrich)

"The U.S. delegation raised five cases of US nationals currently before the courts, concern for their well-being and clarification on the legal process," the TCI Governor's Office said in a Monday statement. "In order to maintain the integrity of the legal process, the Governor confirmed it would not be appropriate to facilitate the delegation’s request to meet with the Chief Justice."

The governor and the premier also said "they cannot intervene nor comment on ongoing legal cases before the courts," the statement continued. "They explained that the Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and/or ammunition and strict penalties are in place to serve and protect all who reside and visit the Turks and Caicos Islands."

Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin sent a letter to Turks and Caicos Gov. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam to urge the release of Watson, Hagerich and Wenrich.

Five Americans have been arrested in Turks and Caicos since February for carrying ammo in airports on the island. They are, from left, Michael Lee Evans (no photo), Bryan Hagerich, Tyler Wenrich, Ryan Watson and Sharitta Grier. (Turks and Caicos Poli

"Like thousands of Americans each year, these individuals traveled to your beautiful territory recently for leisure," the governors wrote in a joint letter shared with Fox News Digital. "They have all maintained that they did not intend to bring ammunition into Turks and Caicos, and any ammunition unknowingly left in their luggage was the result of lawful conduct in the United States. We understand that none of them were carrying firearms."

The State Department recently issued a PSA on X saying that Americans "can be arrested for having any ammunition, even a single stray shell or casing" in many countries. The department prompted travelers to check pockets and "every nook and cranny" of suitcases "before traveling to avoid running into problems overseas."

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