NASCAR champ Kyle Busch admitted to being detained by Mexican officials over a handgun charge on Monday.
The 37-year-old driver released a statement that acknowledged shocking reports that he had been taken into custody by Mexico’s National Guard at the end of January.
According to a press release from the Attorney General of the Republic, Busch, who was referred to in the document as Kyle Thomas “B,” was arrested at Cancun International Airport on Jan. 27.
Busch reportedly tried to get a “caliber pistol-type firearm” and a “magazine stocked with six useful hollow point cartridges” that was in his luggage, through a security checkpoint.
The Quintana Roo National Guard arrested Busch before he could board his private flight back home.
It’s a crime in Mexico to carry a firearm without a license and possess ammunition that only exists for “the exclusive use of the Armed Forces.”
On Monday, Busch detailed that he and his wife Samantha had been on a multi-day vacation in Mexico, and his handgun was “flagged during a routine screening” at the airport’s private terminal.
He explained that bringing the weapon into the foreign nation was not a deliberate act.
“I have a valid concealed carry permit from my local authority and adhere to all handgun laws, but I made a mistake by forgetting it was in my bag.”
“Discovery of the handgun led to my detainment while the situation was resolved,” Busch continued.
“I was not aware of Mexican law and had no intention of bringing my handgun into Mexico.”
It’s unclear how long Busch was detained for the offense, but according to Mexican authorities press release, his case was presented to a federal Control Judge two days later.
“When it was discovered, I fully cooperated with the authorities, accepted the penalties, and returned to North Carolina,” he explained.
It’s unclear how exactly Busch was able to return to North Carolina, when he was fined $1,100 and sentenced to 3.5 years in Mexican prison.
The NASCAR driver doesn’t seem to expect to serve anytime, as he stated that the issue has been “resolved.”
“I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter,” Busch concluded.
“My family and I consider this issue closed.”
The two time NASCAR Cup Series Champion was back to racing on Sunday, when he finished third the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Busch finished behind his Richard Childress Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon in the preseason event.
He called the driving by fellow competitors “a disaster,” after the 150-lap race resulted in 16 cautions.
“Last year’s show I felt like was relatively clean and good racing, some bumping, some banging, but we could run long stretches of green-flag action,” he remarked.
“Whereas today [Sunday’s race] was I would call it a disaster with the disrespect from everybody of just driving through each other and not just letting everything kind of work its way out.”
“But it’s a quarter-mile. It’s tight-quarters racing,” he explained.
“Actually, this is probably how it should have gone last year, so we got spoiled with a good show the first year. Maybe this was just normal.”
He called out fellow driver Joey Logano for spinning him around on Lap 86 of the race.
“It’s really unfortunate to get raced by guys that are so two-faced,” Busch commented about his rival.
“We were in the TV booth earlier in the night together and when we were all done with that he was like, ‘Hey man, good luck tonight’ and I said, ‘Great, thanks, yeah. Whatever.’ And then low and behold, there you go, he wrecks me.”
“Don’t even talk to me if you’re going to be that kind of an (expletive) on the race track,” he concluded.
Plenty of fans were shocked to hear that Busch had been arrested.
“Never would’ve thought this article was real,” one replier wrote. “Not gonna lie… Me either,” another added.
“Why are you taking a gun with you on vacation?” Someone asked.
“Because Mexico is in the top 20 countries for murder per capita maybe??? Regardless he said he didn’t mean to bring it,” a Twitter user shot back.
“Ummm protection? Normal people make sure they’re able to protect their family while away,” another defended.
“Clearly he made a mistake by having it in Mexico, but there’s nothing wrong with carrying protection anywhere else where it’s legal.”
Others pointed out how differently the situation could have turned out if Busch was an average Joe.
“He’s lucky he has money, had it been a normal American they would be in jail for 3 or more years plus a hefty fine,” one person wrote.
“3.5 years in a Mexican clink? And an $1100 fine – now that’s funny – pretty sure that sentence is never gonna happen,” another added.
“I’m sure if you throw the judge an extra 50 thousand pesos that jail time will go away.”
NASCAR’s 2023 season kicks off with the Daytona 500 on February 19.