U.S. lawmakers fail to secure release of Americans held in Turks and Caicos for having ammunition

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U.S. lawmakers traveled to Turks and Caicos this week to push for the return of five American citizens detained on ammunition possession charges, but failed to facilitate their release.

The Americans were arrested in the last five months under a strict law in Turks and Caicos that prohibits possession of firearms or ammunition and carries a mandatory 12-year sentence.

One American, Michael Lee Evans, was jailed in December; Bryan Hagerich was arrested in February; and two Americans, Ryan Watson and Tyler Scott Wenrich, have been detained since April. The latest arrest occurred on May 13 when Sharitta Grier was jailed.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said a group of lawmakers “went in respectful” and “with an open mind looking to find common ground” during a meeting Monday with the Turks and Caicos government.