A tourist from New Jersey had his stay in Cayman extended by a day and his holiday budget expanded by $750 after airport security personnel found a bullet in his backpack.
The man, 36, appeared before Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn on Thursday, March 1, when he pleaded guilty to importing a single round of .55 ammunition on Feb. 20.
Deputy director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran said the defendant was about to depart on a flight from Owen Roberts International Airport on Wednesday, Feb. 28, when an inspection of his backpack revealed the single bullet.
Questioned by Customs officers, he presented his firearms license in his home state and told them he owned two guns. He said he had no knowledge of that single round being in his backpack.
The defendant, who identified himself as a restaurant owner, said he believed the bullet had fallen into his bag while he was packing.
He said he hoped this incident would not prevent him from visiting his family in Cayman in the future.
Given his good character, his guilty plea and his explanation, the magistrate did not record a conviction, but ordered him to pay $750 in costs.
She pointed out that in the Cayman Islands possession of a firearm without a license is a serious offense and some firearms offenses attract a mandatory minimum seven years imprisonment.
The fact that his bullet was found at the Cayman airport showed how thorough local personnel were, the magistrate said. How officials of the Transportation Security Administration did not identify the bullet on the defendant’s way out of the U.S. baffled her, she added.