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Kyle Busch Sentenced to Prison in Mexico for Gun Possession But He’s Still Free

The two-time Cup Series champion says he paid the penalty that was dealt to him and returned to North Carolina, but what's next is unclear.
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was detained in Mexico last month for illegally carrying a firearm in his luggage at Cancun International Airport. He was subsequently released, though the Mexican government is saying he has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison. Busch confirmed the incident in an official statement Monday afternoon, adding that he paid the penalty that was dealt to him, though what comes next remains murky.

Despite what authorities seem to indicate, Busch believes the situation is resolved.

“In late January, Samantha and I enjoyed a several day vacation in Mexico,” his statement reads. “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.

“When it was discovered, I fully cooperated with the authorities, accepted the penalties, and returned to North Carolina. I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter. My family and I consider this issue closed.”

Mexican federal authorities issued a release on Feb. 3 saying they fined Busch the equivalent of $1,082 for possessing a .38 caliber handgun as well as “six useful hollow point cartridges.” It goes on to mention that Busch was handed his sentence through an “abbreviated procedure.”

It’s possible that the situation has indeed been resolved since Busch returned home to North Carolina. Right now, however, there’s no clear answer. If the issue is closed as Busch says, he’ll be driving the No. 8 Chevy Camaro ZL1 for Richard Childress Racing at the 2023 Daytona 500 on Feb. 19.

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