Gov. Stitt Writes Letter Vouching For Oklahoma Couple Arrested in Turks And Caicos

Gov. Kevin Stitt has sent a letter vouching for the moral character of Oklahoma couple who were arrested in Turks and Caicos for having ammunition in a carry-on bag earlier this month.

Friday, April 26th 2024, 10:34 am

By: News On 6, News 9

Gov. Kevin Stitt sent a letter vouching for an Oklahoma couple detained and facing prison time in Turks and Caicos to be released.

Ryan and Valerie Watson, a couple from Arcadia, were arrested on the islands earlier this month after authorities found hunting ammo in Ryan's carry-on bag.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum 12-year sentence.

RELATED: Arcadia Man Charged With Carrying Ammo In Turks And Caicos

Valerie said her husband uses the bag for hunting trips and didn’t realize the ammo was there. “It just kind of spiraled from there,” Valerie said. “The officer came, and he looked at our tickets and said you aren't going to be on this flight.”

The couple was arrested for possessing ammunition. Possessing ammunition is prohibited in Turks and Caicos. Tourists often pay a fine until February, when a court order mandates that even tourists leaving the country are subject to prison time. “We were pretty scared, honestly, just not knowing how serious this offense is.”

After ten days, Valerie was released and allowed to come home.

This week, Ryan was released on bail but not allowed to leave the country. He has an attorney working on his case and his next hearing is set for June 7. 

In the letter, Gov. Stitt says:

I am writing to vouch for the characters of Mr. Ryan and Valerie Watson, who are currently detained in your country. The Watsons are upstanding members of their community and the State of Oklahoma, and I can assure you countless others stand willing to confirm their high moral characters.
First and foremost, the Watsons are devoted parents. Their two young children, Van and Ellie, need their parents home without delay. Mr. and Mrs. Watson would never intentionally break the law. Again, they are unwavering in moral character, reliable neighbors, and devoted community members.
Mr. Watson has consistently demonstrated integrity and skill and is a leader in his field. He possesses an in-depth understanding of medical products and procedures, coupled with a genuine passion for improving healthcare outcomes. His customers trust him to provide accurate and honest information so they can work to improve the lives of patients across Oklahoma.
Furthermore, Mrs. Watson, an elementary school teacher, is a pillar in her school and community. Her commitment to her students and their families speaks volumes about her character and dedication to serving others. She has a natural talent for nurturing young minds and fostering a positive learning environment. Her absence has been felt by each of her students and their families.
Like many in Oklahoma, Mr. Watson is an avid outdoorsman. We learn to safely use and transport firearms from a young age. To the extent Mr. Watson possessed ammunition, it would have been due to an inadvertent oversight, not an intentional attempt to break the law. The Watsons are great Oklahomans, and their children and community need them home soon.


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