An American woman detained at the La Paz airport for entering Bolivia with 500 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition in her luggage was released Thursday and will not face charges, officials said.
Donna Thi Dinh, 20, was detained Wednesday night after airport security found five boxes with 100 bullets each in her luggage upon her arrival from Miami on an American Airlines flight.
Dinh initially declared to customs that she was carrying various types of cheese, but later acknowledged that her luggage also held the bullets, Bolivian Migration Director Magaly Zegarra said.
Dinh was met at the airport by the wife of Col. James Campbell, a military liaison at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Zegarra said. Campbell wanted the bullets for training and sport shooting, U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Philip Goldberg said during a Thursday news conference at the presidential palace in La Paz.
“There has not been any crime,” La Paz District Judge Alvaro Melgarejo said Thursday afternoon upon ordering Dinh released.
Dinh did not know she had to declare the bullets, Goldberg said.
“It was an innocent error,” he said.
Goldberg said Dinh did not violate either airline regulations or Bolivian law, but Bolivian officials said they were determined to investigate the matter further.
“The case is not closed,” Vice Minister of the Interior Ruben Gamarra told Bolivia’s Radio Erbol. “We will ask the attorney general to continue the investigation. It’s necessary to know why an American airline permits the transport of large-caliber ammunition.”
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration permits passengers to carry ammunition in checked baggage on domestic flights, but advises travelers to check with foreign authorities before attempting to bring bullets abroad.