American visitor had 50 9mm bullets in his luggage
Honeymooner Joshua Onkka, 27, will leave the Cayman Islands Friday after being fined $3,000 for importing and possessing unlicensed firearms.
The Wyoming newlywed appeared in the Summary Court before Magistrate Valdis Foldats on Thursday after he was found with two boxes of handgun bullets, each containing 25 9mm bullets, in his luggage at the Owens Roberts International Airport on Saturday. He had arrived on an American Airlines flight from Miami.
The oil field laborer received bail and missed his scheduled flight home on Wednesday.
Magistrate Foldats imposed the fine or offered 90 days imprisonment as an alternative.
He said it was “a substantial amount of ammunition” and Onkka faced “a very serious charge in the Cayman Islands.”
Magistrate Foldats said the Cayman Islands had a completely different philosophy on gun crime compared to the United States, which he described as having “very liberal gun laws.”
If Onkka had been carrying the gun also, the mandatory minimum sentence would have been seven years’ imprisonment, he said.
“It’s a credit to our customs services that they are that vigilant and that they’re concerned in terms of firearms and drugs …,” Magistrate Foldats said. “It is a credit to our jurisdiction.”
Onkka told the court he had been shooting in Denver, Colorado with his bride’s uncle and thought he had removed the firearms from his bag.
“I had forgotten about all about it completely,” Onkka said.
“I deeply apologize for any inconvenience I have made for anybody here. I really know now that you guys don’t mess around with this kind of stuff. And I’m sorry.”
The judge had taken Onkka’s guilty plea into account when passing sentence.
Onkka was told that his ammunition would be forfeited, to which he responded, “I don’t want it.”
Magistrate Foldats said people needed to be aware of the laws of the countries they were visiting.