Sharitta Grier, an American tourist charged with bringing ammunition to Turks and Caicos, who has remained on the islands since her arrest in May, avoided jail time in her sentencing Thursday.

Grier was fined $1,500 and given a 23-week suspended sentence. She has been released following her sentencing hearing Thursday morning.

Grier, of Orlando, was visiting Turks and Caicos with her daughter for Mother’s Day when, during a routine search at the Howard Hamilton International Airport Monday, police said officials found two rounds of ammunition in her bag.

Grier pleaded guilty to one count of possession of ammunition. She had been released on $15,000 bail following her arrest and ordered to remain in the Caribbean territory until the completion of her case.

She told Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV following her arrest she had no idea two rounds were in the bottom of her duffel bag.

The booking photo for Sharitta Grier.

Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force

She was the fifth American to be charged under Turks and Caicos’ gun laws in recent months and faced a mandatory 12-year prison sentence unless the court found “exceptional circumstances.”

Three other American tourists who were similarly charged and detained on the islands after inadvertently traveling with ammunition have since been able to return home with the court citing “exceptional circumstances” to avoid the mandatory sentence.

In May, Tyler Wenrich was sentenced to time served and fined $9,000, while Bryan Hagerich was sentenced to a suspended 52-week sentence with a fine of $6,700. The court found there to be “exceptional circumstances” in their cases that made a mandatory 12-year prison sentence unjust and disproportionate to the crime committed.

In June, Ryan Watson was fined $2,000 — $500 for each of four bullets discovered in his luggage.

Michael Lee Evans, a fourth American who was charged under the firearms ordinance but allowed to return home to Texas amid his legal proceedings, received a 33-week suspended sentence with no fine.

Watson and Evans were sentenced after the Turks and Caicos government approved a bill amending a section of their firearms ordinance to clarify the court has more discretion in sentencing people convicted of violating the law when “exceptional circumstances” are found. Previously, the law allowed discretion for a lesser prison sentence than the mandatory 12-year minimum, though it still required the court to impose both a prison sentence and fine, according to the Turks and Caicos attorney general.

Under the amended law, the court has the “widest possible breadth of discretion” and can impose either a fine, custodial sentence or both, the attorney general said in a statement.

ABC News’ Stefan Joyce contributed to this report.



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