Family was organising money and US officials to free convicted wife



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.”

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  1. All is well that ends well. This is the best way to end such an ordeal. The Jamaican government should have done the same for our footballers after seeing how weak their circumstantial “evidence” was.
    Kudos to all the officials in the Antiguan government who made this happen…

    • As a Jamaican, I beg to differ. People must be responsible for their luggage. This nonsense about mistakes. We so-called West Indians are given no such breaks. For all I know she is a gun runner. We must know what is in our bag. Also while I am happy for the equipment manager. In a sophisticated setup, these things cannot happen. Ultimately the equipment manager has to be responsible.

      In all the years of WI Cricket and regional tournaments, this has never happened. Peopel being arrested for weed. Why? Its the equipment managers responsibility.

    • Exactly on two occasions while traveling my change purse was thoroughly checked out in florida and again in atlanta yet a box of bullets no response… us this a case od travelling while black… the double standards are outrageous…. her ass should still be in jail

  2. I believe this was an honest mistake by the fact that the bullets were still in her luggage when she was leaving. However, a couple major concerns here. First, how was she able to get on an international US flight with bullets in her luggage. Second, that our customs officers did not pick that up, but that’s kind of understandable, because they would have had to have searched her entire suitcase on arrival and we all know they don’t do that to everyone. Thirdly, the fact that she was sentenced to a year in prison the next day. I know she broke the law, but is that how this law is supposed to work. That is frightening. I am sure if she shot someone in public in front of hundreds of witnesses she would not get sentenced the next day. I understand the intent of this law, but something is definitely wrong in its execution. What if this happened to you?

  3. I hoped its logged somewhere in the US so when its time to repay the favour , they’ll do the same for us .

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