Feel-Good Friday: Fetterman Facilitates Freedom for American in Turks and Caicos Edition

Townhall Media

The good news is that an American tourist being held in Turks and Caicos is being released today. The bad news is that four other Americans are still in jail on similar charges. 


Friday morning Bryan Hagerich, a Pennsylvania father of two and former pro baseball player, pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition. Hagerich, 39, is one of five Americans who has been arrested and detained on the islands since February for having stray ammunition in their luggage. It is a crime punishable by up to 12 years in jail. 

Other Americans being held are Ryan Watson, 40, of Oklahoma, Sharitta Grier, 45, of Florida; Tyler Wenrich, 31, of Virginia; and Michael Lee Evans, 72, of Texas. Each case is a little different but all were arrested while traveling home. Airport security detected ammunition in their luggage. 

Instead of 12 years in jail that he faced, Hagerich received a suspended sentence of 52 weeks and a fine of $6700. 

"From the day that I was arrested, the end goal was to get off the island and go home to my family. To think that that day is potentially tomorrow, it's every emotion under the sun," Hagerich told Fox News Digital on Thursday. "There's obviously a lot of anxiety. There [are] a lot of prayers … from families, friends, folks we don't even know across the world right now, to hopefully bring that outcome."

He added that he and his attorneys have "made a very, very strong case" in his defense after he pleaded guilty.

Hagerich, Watson, and Grier have been living in the same condo, waiting for their day in court. They created a little family among themselves. They formed a support system, like two brothers and a sister. 


In Hagerich's case, he had stray ammunition tucked into a pocket of a piece of luggage his family used in their trip to the islands. It was left over from a previous hunting trip. 

None of them had the intention to bring bullets to the islands.

Watson's stray ammunition was also left over from a hunting trip. Grier, who has never fired a gun, recently purchased a gun for protection. She sometimes closes up at night at a store her brother owns and she wanted a gun for self-protection. 

Wenrich said he had no idea he had two bullets in his travel backpack. 

Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said he is pushing the State Department to issue a no-travel order. It would prevent cruise ships from docking on the islands and it would prevent people from purchasing traveler's insurance. He also wants to see a tariff put on U.S. imports to Turks and Caicos. Most Americans who travel to the islands come from Texas, Florida, and Virginia. Turks and Caicos depends on tourism for 70% of its economy. It'd be a shame if something happened to that. 

Guess who else rose to the occasion to help out Hagerich. Senator John Fetterman. 


He said he met with TCI officials a few days ago. A bipartisan congressional delegation visited the islands to ask for the release of the Americans. 

Hagerich will be allowed to leave and return to his home in Pennsylvania once he pays the fine. It is expected he will pay the fine today and be on his way home. 

Evans is out on bail after pleading guilty and in the United States because of a 'severe' medical situation. He is required to return to the islands for his next hearing. Wenrich pleaded guilty. Watson will have a hearing next week to determine if he will enter a plea or proceed to trial. 

The others need to be released as soon as possible. And, this is a good reminder that before heading to an airport, make sure there are no bullets in your bag. 

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