A woman is facing a possible 25-year prison sentence after police found a handgun in her luggage at Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, according to a probable cause fact sheet filed by police.
Shannon Claxton was arrested Thursday and charged with importation of a firearm without a license, failure to report a firearm purchased outside or brought into the Virgin Islands, and possession of ammunition, according to the fact sheet.
The importation charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years behind bars, and a minimum $50,000 fine.
The incident occurred at Rohlsen Airport where Claxton was trying to board a plane. Transportation Security Administration officials discovered an undeclared firearm in a piece of Claxton’s checked luggage, a 9 mm Smith & Wesson hidden in a sock, according to the fact sheet.
A V.I. Port Authority officer interviewed Claxton, who said she had traveled from Georgia to visit family on July 13 and “she brought her firearm to protect herself while she was here because she was hearing that St. Croix has a lot of violence going on right now,” according to the fact sheet.
Claxton said she does not have a firearm license and said such a license is not required to possess a gun in Georgia. She also told police she was not aware that travelers are required to declare firearms when they arrive in the territory, according to the fact sheet.
Claxton appeared in court via videoconference for her advice-of- rights hearing Friday, where Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris Jr. ordered her to post $5,000 cash and be released to a third-party custodian on St. Croix.