Travel News

American Tourist with Forgotten Ammo in Bag Receives Sentence in Turks and Caicos

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Written by Charlie

An American tourist, who had been arrested for having ammo in his bag, has learned of his sentence in the Turks and Caicos for this incident.

Earlier this year, American Bryan Hagerich had traveled to the Turks and Caicos on vacation. However, in his checked bag and forgotten by him were 20 rounds of rifle ammunition. This was enough to be arrested by the Turks and Caicos authorities and he faced a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison. Today, he received his sentence.

Tourist with Ammo Receives Sentence

The American government, including Hagerich’s congressman and US Senator Fetterman (Bryan Hagerich is from Pennsylvania), has been trying to get Bryan released on what had been a mistake. But, the government has a mandatory minimum sentence in their country of 12 years on possession of ammunition charges.

The government had said it was with the legal system and there was nothing they could do about it. Today, the court issued their sentence of the American tourist. The courts apparently are able to exercise some discretion in “exceptional circumstances” and the judge must have believed Bryan’s story because the judge gave him a suspended sentence of 52 weeks and a $6,700 fine.

Given that it was a suspended sentence, Bryan is expected to be released today and to travel back to the US.

Check Your Bags!

There are a few things that have come from this case (and more like it as other Americans wait to hear of their fate, though they must be relieved after today). One is that the TSA has shown again that they definitely miss things. Bryan had these 20 rounds of rifle ammunition in his checked bag and the TSA did not catch it when he checked in for his flight. Ammunition is allowed to be transported in checked bags but the airlines are to be notified of it and it must be carried in certain containers. Obviously, this had not happened since Bryan had accidentally brought it to the Turks and Caicos.

DO NOT just assume that you are fine if the TSA doesn’t catch anything, especially if you are going overseas. I remember a number of years ago, a friend of mine had found out that he had a small pocketknife buried in an inner pocket of his backpack – and had flown with it about 40 times without ever being stopped. He had totally forgotten it was there.

Yet, sometimes, they do catch stuff but miss the others. I remember one time on a trip to Missouri, some friends and I were shooting down there and the clothes I had been wearing set off alarms when checking in my bag because of gunpowder. No bullets, but their sensors did catch that.

I know many people will use a backpack/briefcase for everyday carry (I do) and sometimes you have stuff in there that you do not travel with when you take that bag with you. I always have a knife in my bag (utility tool) for everyday carry. So, I have to make sure I get it out before flying.

It can be more helpful to just have separate bags but if you do not do that, make sure you empty out your bag completely before your trips. You may not remember what you have put in there since your last trip!

I’m glad Bryan gets to return home to Pennsylvania and his family. I understand it was still his responsibility to check and make sure he wasn’t carrying ammo in his bags but I also cannot imagine what it would have been like had he had to spend 12 years in prison for that.

Also take this opportunity to remind yourself to check your destination’s laws for what is and isn’t allowed to bring in there. There are many things that we just take for granted that we can travel with in the US that could get you a prison sentence in other countries – not even talking about weapons, either.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I’m not a gun owner (and I don’t have a problem with people owning them) but I still don’t understand, how a responsible gun owner, forgets that there are 20 rounds of ammunition in his bag.

    • sounds like memory loss…courtesy of digital radiation….oh…”we don’t know about that yet”….a “conspiracy theory” for now….until it isn’t.

      I wonder how our memories are stored in our brains? Are they analog or digital?
      Oh..maybe you just think it’s some chemical reaction….hahahahaha

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