An Austin woman is safe on American soil after being imprisoned in Antigua, following a family vacation there.
According to the Austin Fire Department, Shannon Martinez accidentally left a box of ammo in a suitcase pocket before the trip.
As her family was leaving the island Tuesday, airport officials found the bullets and arrested her. Fire officials say the next day Martinez was sentenced to a year in prison for violating the island’s firearms law.
Shannon’s husband, Eddie Martinez, is a battalion chief for the Austin Fire Department.
“The Austin fire family takes care of its own, and so people were rallying together and, next steps, and gathering money and contacts,” AFD Division Chief Palmer Buck said.
Buck says his department heard of what happened on Wednesday, the day after Martinez was arrested.
“It’s still so surreal that you go from ending a 10 day, fantastic vacation to getting on a plane to being sentenced to prison,” he said.
Buck says coworkers, family and friends began raising money for the Martinez family and calling state and government officials.
“Everybody did what we do nowadays, which is Google Antigua prisons,” Martinez said. “That’s not a good Google. So, everybody just started rallying.”
Soon, he says, the fire department was notified that a deal was underway. He says as that deal was in the works, everyone was ordered to keep quiet.
“The directions we were given were, “‘Stop, stop, stop. Don’t do anything, don’t talk. We need to keep it quiet. Keep it off social media, and don’t start causing demonstrations’ and what have you,” Buck said.
On Thursday evening, Buck says, a deal was reached, and Martinez was released from the Antiguan prison.
On Friday, he says, she and her family left the island and made it safely to Miami that evening. Exact details of the deal that was reached with Antiguan officials are still unclear.
“We don’t know what transpired to come to this happy ending,” Buck said. “We’re just happy that they’re back in the United States, and we’re going to start getting them back to as close to normal as we can.”
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Antigua and abroad!
Contact us at [email protected]