Famed NASCAR driver Kyle Busch has been sentenced to three-and-half-years in prison for gun possession without a license in Mexico, authorities there said late last week.
It is not clear how, or if, that sentence will be assessed.
According to a press release by Mexico’s Attorney General of the Republic office, a man visiting Quintana Roo, Cancún, was arrested by the National Guard when leaving the country on Jan. 27, after security personnel at the private FBO terminal in Cancún International Airport signaled that something was amiss with Busch’s baggage.
Mexican authorities identified the defendant as “Kyle Thomas B” from Nevada and said he 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.”
Busch addressed the issue in a statement on Twitter.
“In late January, Samantha and I enjoyed a several day vacation in Mexico,” he 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.”
According to Mexican authorities, Busch placed his luggage on the platform and x-rays took note of “a pistol-type firearm caliber. 380 with charger supplied with six hollow point cartridges” inside.
“When it was discovered, I fully cooperated with the authorities, accepted the penalties, and returned to North Carolina,” Busch’s statement continued. “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.”
On Jan. 29, the charges were presented by Mexico’s Agent of the Federal Public Ministry to what is termed a “Control judge” under an “expedited procedure,” deemed legal, and Busch was sentenced to three years and six months in prison as well as a fine of 20,748 pesos, or, roughly, $1,080, the Mexican press release said.
A Mexican legal website run by an online law firm explains that “[t]he expedited procedure is a mechanism that speeds up criminal prosecution proceedings [and] is applied in custodial sentences not exceeding 9 years or in others of a different nature.” A Mexican law review article written by a member of the judiciary says the procedure “is considered as a form of early termination, in which the defendant has agreed to be tried based on the data.”
Tied for the most NASCAR cup wins among active drivers with Kevin Harvick, Busch also has two titles to his name. He additionally has the most cumulative wins across NASCAR’s top three series at 223, according to Yahoo! Sports. The younger brother of NASCAR and Daytona 500 driver Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch is currently entering his first season racing under the new banner of Richard Childress Racing after spending the majority of his career with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter,” Busch said in his statement. “My family and I consider this issue closed.”