A Wisconsin woman is facing criminal charges in the Cayman Islands and even possible prison time after a gun was found in her luggage. This story is a cautionary tale for other cruise passengers regarding the importance of reading the restrictions on what can and cannot be brought on a cruise vacation and the consequences of what can happen if a prohibited item is found.
Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan left Florida for a nine-night cruise through the Caribbean last month. The first stop on the cruise was in the Cayman Islands. While the ship was stopped at port on February 3, McNeill-Skorupan received a notice that her third piece of luggage, which did not arrive with her on the flight from Wisconsin to Florida, had finally made its way to the George Town airport. She left to retrieve her bag where she was arrested due to a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition that the Cayman Island authorities discovered in her bag. These items were found during a routine X-ray of the third bag when it arrived at the airport.
McNeill-Skorupan argued that she had a valid Wisconsin concealed carry permit, which allowed her to possess the firearm and ammunition. However, despite her claims that the permit justified the weapon, the Caymans considered it an illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. She spent three nights in jail before finally being released on $10,000 bail and a surrender of her passport. She was released and allowed to stay at a local hotel, although she has reportedly been allowed to return to Wisconsin.
Depending on how this plays out, she could face a mandatory seven-year prison term if she pleads guilty. If she pleads not guilty, goes to trial and is later convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison, unless the court finds exceptional circumstances exist that allow for a lesser sentence.
This type of occurrence is not an isolated one. In fact, McNeill-Skorupan is one of two Americans awaiting trial for a similar type of occurrence. At least a dozen other Americans have faced the same fate.
One major issue brought before the court is the fact that McNeill-Skorupan never asked Delta to forward her bag. She, in fact, directed that the bag remain with a friend in Florida while she was on the cruise. It is unclear if she had any intention of bringing the gun on-board with her on the cruise.
Another similar situation occurred with David Meadors who plead guilty to bringing his 9 mm handgun to the Cayman Islands. Meadors was building a retirement home in the Caymans when customs officials came to the construction location to inspect a shipping container he had sent to the site in 2017. The container had materials and other tools needed for construction, but it also had 200 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Meadors said that the ammunition was packed by his employees by mistake, but when asked by officials if he also had a gun, he admitted that it was locked in an apartment storage area. He was charged with import and possession of the gun and ammunition, along with other charges. Meadors said he was told that if he gave a guilty plea to the counts involving the gun but not the ammunition, the other charges would be dropped at sentencing. However, he now says Cayman officials have backed out of this deal.
Many Americans who visit the Cayman Islands are not aware of the laws they have with respect to guns and ammunition. According to the State Department’s international travel advisory for the Caymans, possessing a gun or ammunition will result in an arrest. Even if the person is employed in law enforcement or the military in the U.S. or even if the person has a valid U.S. permit to carry the gun, it is not legal in the Caymans without a Cayman Islands weapon permit. The Cayman Islands are strict when it comes to guns and ammunition.
Guns are not allowed on cruise ships, with or without a concealed carry permit. Many passengers believe having this gun will protect them in the event of criminal activity, but it is important that passengers realize that cruise companies have policies and procedures for handling crime at sea.
If you are planning a cruise vacation in the near future and have questions about what you are allowed to bring on the boat or to one of the port destinations, it is recommended you do your research first. Check out each location’s prohibited items, and when in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
INJURED ON A CRUISE SHIP OR CRUISE SHIP EXCURSION? SPEAK TO A CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY: 1-866-597-4529.
If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.
Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991. We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits. You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering. Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.