Sarasota doctor goes from paradise to prison - FOX 13 News

Sarasota doctor goes from paradise to prison

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Dr. Horace Norrell hasn't fired a gun in at least 30 years, and when he did decades ago, it was a shotgun he owned.

So how did a 9mm bullet end up in his luggage?

Some are calling it a "shakedown."

On April 26th, Dr. Norrell had just wrapped up his vacation in the Turks and Caicos. It was his 80th birthday celebration. He and his wife were at the Providencials International Airport where they went through the security screening, and one of their bags was chosen to be randomly checked.

Security took the bag for about 15 minutes. Then an American Airlines agent walked back with the bag, opened it and showed Horace a 9mm bullet they say came from his luggage.

Dr. Norrell says it was a setup.

He was arrested and taken to jail. He spent three nights in a cell with a man suspected of murder in the next cell.

His attorney Marcia Silvers told FOX 13 it was a "horrific" experience.

"The type of cell, where it was totally dark when you close the door. There were no windows, no light and there was a toilet that was in the middle of the cell that did not flush and that was it," she said.

By Monday, Norrell was taken before a judge. She did not listen to him, but told him he had to pay $4,000 in bail, cash, if he wanted to get out.

He paid and his now home, but his troubles are not over. He must go back to the Turks and Caicos on June 7th for a hearing, and he faces up to five years in prison.

He's not the only one who says he was set up and shaken down.

There was another American who dealt with the same problem just a day before Norrell.

Sixty-year-old realtor Cathy Davis was also detained. She also lost sight of her bag for a short time and says she never saw anyone take anything out of her bag. But moments later, an agent walked up with a bullet in his hand and said it came from her bag.

Davis also had to pay $4,000 to get out of jail.

Senator Bill Nelson is now involved.

"If this is some nefarious scheme, than any American tourist is prey to this scheme, and the ramifications are horrendous." Nelson said.

He held a press conference on Friday along with Marcia Silvers. He has sent a letter to the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas.

In the letter Senator Nelson writes, "We understand appropriate local officials have begun an investigation stemming from these arrests. While we do not seek to interfere in the judicial matter, we ask that you convey to the proper authorities that the investigation needs to expeditious, thorough, transparent and independent. We also want to know whether any other Americans have been arrested there on similar charges since January."

It is signed by Senator Nelson and Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas.

Senator Nelson warns those traveling to the Turks and Caicos until this is all figured out.

"This is going to cause extra vigilance. Do not leave your bags unattended. Do not let them out of your sight. I also encourage you to register with the State Department and leave your itinerary with a number of people," he said.

Senator Nelson says there may be a third American targeted, but he has not confirmed that.

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