Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was arrested and detained in Mexico in January after a handgun was found in his bag as he and his wife Samantha boarded a private jet to leave the country after a vacation.
According to the Mexico Prosecutor General’s office, a man originally from Nevada identified as “Kyle Thomas B” was “credited with full responsibility in the commission of the crime of carrying a firearm without a license and possession of cartridges for the exclusive use of the armed forces.”
The prosecutor general’s office said Busch was arrested on Jan. 27 and sentenced Monday to 3.5 years in prison and fined $1,100. No information was given in the statement regarding how Busch’s sentence would be handled.
Busch, 37, said in a statement that he considered “this issued closed” and finished third in Sunday night’s NASCAR Clash exhibition race. He said that he does “adhere to all handgun laws,” but also admitted in the same statement that he was unaware of the Mexican law that forbids the possession of a weapon in the country without Mexican approval.
“In late January, Samantha and I enjoyed a several day vacation in Mexico,” Busch said. “When departing the country, my handgun was flagged during routine screening at the airport. 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. I was not aware of Mexican law and had no intention of bringing a handgun into Mexico.”
According to the prosecutor general, Busch’s handgun had six hollow point cartridges inside.
Busch is entering his first season with Richard Childress Racing after spending the majority of his Cup Series career with Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch has the most wins across NASCAR’s top three series combined with 223 yet was unable to come to an agreement to continue his career at JGR after longtime sponsor M&M Mars decided to exit NASCAR after the 2022 season.
Busch won both of his Cup Series titles with JGR and scored 56 of his 60 career Cup Series wins with the team. Busch’s 60 Cup wins tie him with Kevin Harvick among active full-time Cup Series drivers and Busch and Joey Logano are the only active full-time drivers with more than one Cup Series title.