A visitor from Texas had her vacation extended unexpectedly when security service staff at Owen Roberts International Airport found a bullet in her purse.
The woman, Jennifer Stutts, had been scheduled to return home to Texas on Wednesday, June 24, but was obliged to stay until Thursday for appearance in Summary Court.
She pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm – one .380 round of ammunition. Cayman’s Firearms Law includes ammunition in the definition of a firearm.
Crown counsel Greg Walcolm said Stutts placed her bag on the conveyor belt for a security check and an object was seen that resembled a bullet. The bag was searched and the round recovered. She was then escorted to a search room, where she was arrested and cautioned.
The Customs Narcotics Enforcement Team attended. In her interview, Stutts said she had been moving homes at the beginning of the year when she found the bullet on the floor. She explained that she threw it in her purse and forgot it was there.
Stutts was bailed until Thursday, when she appeared before Magistrate Philippa McFarlane. She entered her plea and apologized to the court, saying it was an honest mistake.
The magistrate told her, “In this jurisdiction we take such matters extremely seriously. Don’t let it happen again.”
She added that the courts have dealt with such offenses before and she imposed a fine of $1,000. The defendant indicated that she hoped to leave the island on a 4 p.m. flight.
A Customs officer volunteered that Stutts’s bail had been set at US$1,250, so the money being held could be used to pay the fine.