Bullets cost newlywed $3000

| 20/06/2014

(CNS): A visitor to the Cayman Islands was fined $3000 Thursday after he admitted having 50 rounds of ammunition in his luggage when he arrived at the airport last weekend for his honeymoon. Joshua Onkka (27) has escaped a potential seven year term jail for his guilty plea for possessing the bullets when he told the Summary Court he had inadvertently left the bullets in his bag following a recent hunting trip in Denver, Colorado, with his bride’s uncle. The newly we,d who works as an oil field labourer in Wyoming, was apologetic and contrite about the 9mm rounds as he accepted the fine rather than the 90 days in jail offered by Magistrate Valdis Foldats.

The two boxes of handgun bullets, each containing 25 rounds, were found in Onkka’s bag by customs officers at the Owens Roberts International Airport on Saturday 14 June after he had arrived on an American Airlines flight from Miami.

The magistrate explained to Onkka that he was carrying a “substantial amount of ammunition” and as a result was facing very serious charges since the Cayman Islands has a completely different philosophy on guns and related crime compared to the United States, where the laws are considerably more liberal towards firearms. Foldats explained the minimum sentence for firearms and said that had Onkka arrived with his gun as well he would have had been sent to jail for seven years. Magistrate Foldats warned that people needed to be aware of the laws of the countries they were visiting.

“I had forgotten 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.”

Taking his prompt guilty plea into consideration as well as the circumstances of the case, Foldats handed down the $3,000 fine after the honeymooner opted to pay rather than serve three months in jail. The judge also said that the ammunition was to be forfeited. The court heard that Onkka was leaving Cayman Friday after he and his new bride had missed their flight home on Wednesday after his arrest.

Magistrate Foldats commended the customs department for their vigilance as it was observed that Onkka had passed through two airports, including Miami, with the ammunition in his bag but it was Cayman’s officers that had picked up on the bullets.

“It’s a credit to our customs services that they are that vigilant and that they’re concerned in terms of firearms and drug. It is a credit to our jurisdiction.”

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Comments (79)

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  1. LoveGrandCayman says:

    $3000 seems more than reasonable – if you can't dothe time, don't do the crime. Good example of an irresponsible gun owner. If you own firearms, it's your responsibilty to keep them secured, as well as your ammo, at all times. 

    Luckily, very few American Gun Nuts can afford to travel to Grand Cayman and most of them are afraid to leave their own states anyhow. Unless you can come up with a way to drive a pickup truck to the Cayman Islands and plan on opening a Walmart in Georgetown, I wouldn't worry about them too much.

    I have been to Grand Cayman many times, and I always feel safe as I do in my hometown back in the US. I feel sorry for these gun nuts who so frightened they feel the need to carry guns with them all the time.

    And, finally, if I had been in the same situation, I think I would rather spend 90 days in a Camanian jail than have to go back to an oil field in Wyoming. 

     

     

     

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    The course did the right thing here, 3k is reasonable. To those US citizens saying g g this is unfair, I wonder what would happen to me if I was to fly into Miami airport with 50 rounds, I can tell you, I would be locked up, no bail, and then once convicted I would be banned from the US for life.
    Look at the Caymanians that exported firearms and ammo from Miami. The US convicted them them and they all served time.
    This tourist is very lucky as our laws state a jail sentence…

    • Anonymous says:

      Errrrr, the Caymanians you reference were part of a gun smuggling ring, the weapons in question have been used in local murders and robberies, damn right they should have been convicted and served time you eejit.

      • Anonymous says:

        I never said they should not be convicted, which they were and I agree on their conviction, my point is why would the US stick stick the nose into our business for exporting, and why wasn’t this American charged and sentenced for 10yrs. It’s the same thing, we really don’t know if he going to deliver the ammo to someone.. Just going off his word.. Just an example donkey!!

        • Anonymous says:

          12:01; One word: Intention.

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          Cause hes going to smuggle in 50 rounds for resale – right!  As for why the US stuck its nose in – 2 reasons. First they broke US law in acquiring the firearms and moving them across state lines. Second because the RCIPS asked them for help.  Before you call someone else a donkey better check the length 0f your own ears.

           

  3. Dred says:

    But wait they are coming here for a wedding surely we should let this pass also i mean we would be crushed if this got into mainstream medis right.

    • Anonymous says:

      oh dear 09.32…if you could only read, your genius would be truly awesome

  4. Anonymous says:

    To the "American" who posted 20/06/14 – 15:53 and "John" who posted 15:36. Your respective facetious and totally naive comments may or may not be genuine. Nonetheless, may I offer you the following clarification.

    Transporting undeclared weapons and ammunition on commercial aircraft is illegal in almost every single "civilized" country of the world, which are party to various International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) protocols protecting unlawful interference against aircraft.  BTW, ICAO is the branch agency of the United Nations which governs commercial aviation and the safety of travel by that means. Therefore the gentleman who was caught and prosecuted for this offence broke international law, as well as that of the USA , the Cayman Islands and Britain (which is the UN signatory on behalf of the CI). His reason is irrelevant.

    Had the same thing happened to, say, a "Caymanian" or any other national entering the USA are you suggesting that he/she could have expected to be let off without some consequence and claim that US authorities were acting "uncivilized" if they arrested and charged that person with violating its laws?

    If we follow the news, we know that incidents such as this are very common with visitors to the Cayman Islands, primarily from the USA unfortunately. That speaks very poorly of TSA exit security checks at their point of departure and very highly of our own system of detection. The vigilance of our authorities clearly protects the best interest of the travelling public. I say kudos to our border control agencies. 

    "American", try to remember this next time you board an aircraft and "John", remember that travelling inside the US is not impacted by international law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Barry Switzer the coach of the Dallas Cowboys was caught boarding a plane with a loaded .38 caliber pistol in 1997.  He said he forgot the gun was in his bag and was fined $3,500 and given a one year deferred adjudication.  Granted he was a US citizen and this was inside the US, but you can find many examples of people from all countries bringing guns or ammo by mistake in their luggage or carry-ons into the US with similar treatment and sentences. 

       

      Usually, just a simple excercise of common sense from a Judge or immigration officer is all that is needed to determine the intention of the passenger and give out the proper punishment.  A fine in this case was the appropriate sentence.

      • Anonymous says:

        "…a simple excercise of common sense from a Judge or immigration office…

         

        In Texas, when guns are involved, "common sense" is not "common sense" to the rest of the world.

         

        The gun culture in the USA is _______ .  

         

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, we Americams tend to think of going to the Caribbean as going to the "beach."  rather than going to a real other country.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Brits have the same view.

      • Whodatis says:

        That's probably fair since we Caymanians tend to think of going to the USA as going to the mall or amusement park rather than going to a real other country. Also, whilst there we find much entertainment in a game of "Spot-the-Fattest-Fattie" – so yeah, thanks for the good times buddy!

        • Anonymous says:

          Most fatties can be spotted here. Once again Whodatis scores an own goal. Only when Cayman is perfect can we be rude about others. Long way to go yet.

          • Whodatis says:

            "Most"??

            Anyway, you are correct – fatties can be spotted here in Cayman. As can be found beaches in the USA.

            However, Americans still come here to behold the most amazing and outstanding of beaches known to mankind therefore … (fill in the blanks), lol!

            😉

            As for your "rude" comment – where were you when the original poster took it upon himself to insult an entire region of the world?

            #gtfohwtb

        • John says:

          That's funny.  I'm from the states and I think of the states as nothing more than a giant walmart now.  

        • Anonymous says:

          When it comes to obesity, truly a case of pot calling kettle black.

        • Anonymous says:

          Is that anything like spotting the air-headed lighty who thinks they are a model material. 

        • Whobedat says:

          Hmmmm…have you looked around Cayman?   Your "rock" has quite a bit of obesity bub…Must be all the fried foods, turtle, alcohol, no work, bad economy, marijuana munchies, gang affiliations, etc.  You are no better than anyone!

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey, I said we were sorry…don't ask me to lose weight too. What a troll.

        • Anonymous says:

          Whodatis usually says some things I think are dumb, but well done for this one, as it made me laugh a lot!

        • Anonymous says:

          Witty!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well that fine ought to sober you up!

    • Anonymous says:

      As the American, I can say my comment was a joke. Just taking a little poke at my countries maniacal love of shooty things. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good.  Cayman must be firm with these gun toting hicks.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Only in Amurrica…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Make that had been a Caymanian……$60,000 more per year everyone would have to pay for……

  8. Anonymous says:

    Too bad he couldn't stick around. The police could have lost the evidence and he could sue us. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the pro-gun crazies think this is "humiliating"

    http://sellingthesecondamendment.com/grand-cayman-is-not-gun-friendly/

    This is why he should have served jail time, to scare off these lunatics.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look what they have to say about the prison! Exactly the poor puctuation and ignorant attitude one expects from these gun-crazies:  Joshua Onkka was smart to pay the fine, spending 90-days in a tropical Jail full of roaches and prisoners who hate your guts for being a white tourist isnot an experience worth having.

      • Anonymous says:

        jail full of roaches? you must mean an American one.  I'll have you know Hotel Northward is a free hotel stay.  They don't hit  alick, eat sleep and play dominoes.  Three meals a day and as much food as you want.  My deadbeat ex rather go there than pay child support.

      • Anonymous says:

        Naa, Caymanians love white people chile.  Its the other nationalities up in Northward he would have to worry about! Our lil roaches are mostly friendly too Bo Bo.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he was planning a post-marriage celebration Middle East style (shoot em off in the air)!

  11. Anonymous says:

    …and how did he leave a US airport without these bullets being picked up by US security? Judging by what I go through every time I travel to the US, it would seem to be impossible.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems they don't care much about whats coming out of the USA vs. what's going in!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh they care. They have taken away drill bits and even wrenches from me. I can understand of course because a person could dismantle a plane mid flight and that would not end well. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sure security in the US was aware, however didn't care as it's permitted to check ammunition.

       

      http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition

    • Michel says:

      Same here. Can’t figure that one with the so many check points But the ones who let that happen should be made responsibleas well A despised life had it been a Local, from our famous local paper. No fine but jail surely. Sorry but if even they find you not guilty, your name is scmheared ( new word ) all over the place. Michel Lemay

    • Anonymous says:

      With bags coming through Miami I'm surprised that they were still there when his bag arrived.  Too many times things disappear from bags going through that airport. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    OK now let's catch some real criminals.

    • Anon E. Mouse says:

      A real criminal was just caught a got slaped on the wrist. Had it been a local or anyone from our east, he wouldd sure of spending some vacation time at Her Majesty's pleasure. If a local try to even wear an empty casing as a pendant or any ornament, he is sure to book a passage to HMP Northward. No excuse needed.

       

       

      • Whobedat says:

        Yeah and Cayman lets murderers and rapists run free.  He is not a criminal for having ammunition.  He broke some rules, but it was not intentional.  Ammunition will do nothing if you don't have a gun.  I'm sure he was able to prove he was on a hunting trip recently. He was NOT coming to Cayman to create havoc, he was coming for a honeymoon. Cayman just got $3,000 richer, for the governments pocket.  He probably won't be spending anymore money on the Island.  As a matter of fact, a lot of visitors are NO LONGER visiting.  Cayman is crime riddled and it not improving.

        In Florida, they even let Caymanians free for being part of robberies, even if they have stockings over their head.  He did nothing to deserve jail time.  If anything, they should have caught this in USA.

        • Anonymous says:

          "He broke some rules" – NO – he broke the LAW (and got off quite lightly) – a gun without ammunition is useless – ammunition is what turns a fancy lump of metal into a firearm.

          And as for Cayman being crime riddled, bear in mind that half the prisoners on the entire planet are in American jails (and the vast majority of them are Americans, not foreigners)

    • Anonymous says:

      He is a real criminal.

      if had come from Colorado and forgot I had an ounce of herb in my luggage should be treated any different?

      no it is a crime in the Cayman Islands?

      mind you which criminal is more dangerous, the one with 50 9mm bullets that he may or  may not of been delivering or the dude with a little personal weed?

       

  13. Anonymously says:

    he is lucky it was just bullets or his new wife would be without him for a few years.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As an American I can say this is a constant worry for me. I'm so used to packing my heater (and of course plenty of ammo) that sometimes I forget that the rest of the world ( except Central America and the Middle East)  aren't as tolerant of our unabashed  self  arming ways. I have added to my vacation packing list a note to UNpack my various assault rifles, pistols, and hand grenades before I travel to less civilized parts of the world. Of course as an American I am spectacularly wealthy so 3 or 4 K….. No big whoop. 

    • Anonymous says:

      A joke right? An American calling the rest of the world less civilized. Lol. Must be a joke, or maybe i'm mistaken about all the school shootings here. :$

      • Anonymous says:

        A joke. You got it. I figured the mention of grenades would tip people off. 

    • Liar don't pretend to be American says:

      Liar liar pants on fire. Not funny to be sarcastic. Any educated gun owner calls it "Heat" not heater.  Your attempt to bash Americans who have a right to bear arms is sad. You can disagree, but for 230 years this right has kept the US politicians democratic.  I agree better gun comtrol laws need to be enforced, but still believe in a personal right to bear arms as a private citizen. When only the government and crooks have guns the local man becomes powerless.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rabid gun mongering-it has not kept the politicians are the public safe from lunatics- and it has only kept the gun makers rich-not the widows or victims

      • Liar don't pretend to be American says:

        Respect laws of where you travel to, period.  It is not a heater silly it is called packing heat.  This newlywed got off lucky and must have convinced the courts his mistake was genuine and he was a tourist not a gun runner 

        everyone should respect the law(s) 

         

      • Anonymous says:

        Sad to you my Yankee brother, but I stand by my comment. I think it was very funny. I know it's tough cuz we're a large wealthy country and it's had to see beyond our borders, but there are a whole lot of people in a whole lot of countries (including the USA) that think it's a bit weird and a lot frightening how many loose people with lose 'heaters' are lose in USA. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I hear ya bro!  Dude, I, too, am a proud NRA member and support its mission beyond the borders of the US.  We will not be safe from criminals until we all are packing.  I never know when some bad guy is going to rob me or cut me off in traffic, so I always carry a sawed-off.  I insist my wife and our kids, 6 and 9 years old, carry little .22LR I bought for them (they are soooo cute and should see them with pistols drawn on Santa's lap or when we stroll into church.)  The Bible says weshould protect ourselves!

      • Anonymous says:

        God bless you bro. Yer raisen em right. I can tell its gonna take peeling their cold, tiny little fingers off their irons to take em away. 

        • Gut Check says:

          Okay, you two, just stop.    There are those sarcastically impaired that don't realise you are joking.   

          Besides, it's just silly imagining the two children with their wee .22s.    I mean, really — children that age are so hard to fit with a proper shoulder holster.   

  15. Anonymous says:

    This infraction is also a violation of FAA rules for declaration of contents of checked baggage, a serious aircraft safety violation in and of itself  ,in addition to a United States D.H.S violation .

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is a serious offence.  The fine and 90 days would send a strong message totourists that the gun happy attitudes of their nations are not welcome.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Now tell me how the hell that got through Miami security?? So much for the TSA.

    We will have to ask his wife if he was firing blanks.

  18. John says:

    This is rediculous.  In the US I carry more than 50 rounds on me at all times.  All they had to do was take the bullets.  I'm sure it was an accident.  There was no need to steal $3000 from the man. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Can't say as I agree with ya there pardner. 

    • Anonymous says:

      As an American I can say I find it er, discomforting that people take pleasure in carrying around 50 rounds

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not the US.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you just prepared in case you get stuck in a six hour shootout?  Or are you just a bit mental?

    • Anonymous says:

      "There was no need to steal $3000…"

       

      I disagree. The government needs to steal every penny it can to keep its unsupportable empire afloat.

    • R.U. Kidden says:

      John, have you, or anyone else thought that this person COULD  have been bringing the ammo to someone here?  Just a thought.  9mm ammo is not used for hunting in Colorado, and fifty rounds of 9mm ammo is heavy enough to make quite a difference in handbag weight.  Do you think you would not notice two boxes of ammo in your bag if you were going on a trip?  Most people know what is in their bag, especially items that large.  .  

    • Just a Simple Caymanian says:

      Being ignorant of the Laws of another country is no excuse. Please, don't be so simpled minded…. You can't come to my house and do as you would in your own home… Is that simple enough for you to understand …. I could draw you a picture but CNS may not post it. LOL

    • Anonymous says:

      Same thing I feel about people who avoid paying taxes, but hey now that’s your country and your choice. You let everyone have all the guns they want, but you take as much of their money as possible, we let you keep as much money as possible but no guns. Decisions, decisions.

    • Liar don't pretend to be American says:

      Dear John, I am an American living here for 20 years. You should know better! The young man said it correctly, he should have known our laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      He was not in the US now was he?

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with most Americans is that they have so many rights till they are far wrong!  Then they think that those rights give them the right to be rude insular and disrespectful of other people rights and their laws!   Do what you wish in your country but when you are in ours respect our laws.  I believe the honeymooner that he forgot them in his bag because it's natural for him to carry them but ignorance of the law is no excuse and so he accepted his punishment and hopefully will be more careful in future.    It doesn't matter what we think of the punishment it is what it is! 

  19. Anonymous says:

    If he was a newly wed Caymanian he would have gotten 7 years to life!!! Is the sentence not MANDATORY for live ammunition or guns found to be in your possession illegally while you are in Cayman Islands? That's what they tell our Cayman young people…

    • Anonymous says:

      Jeezuz, stop using any freeking excuse to make yourself a victim. The US just let a Caymanian woman in a shoot out with a bag over her head!  Go free.  Waaaa boo hoo. If that was an American they would have sent her to Guantanamo. Booooo hoooo. Whoa is me. 

      • Anonymous says:

        that would be………… "woe is me".   ……… and no, the American wouldn't have gone to Guantanamo.     They would have faced a fine for undeclared ammo much as was done here.    

        No harm, no foul.    Correct punishment, even if it was a wacky mishap.    I know one thing for certain:   If I were carrying nearly three pounds of ammo, I would surely know it.