“When it was discovered, I fully cooperated with the authorities, accepted the penalties, and returned to North Carolina,” he wrote.
Busch was very much back on U.S. soil Sunday, when he finished third in the Cup Series season-opening exhibition event, the Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It made for a successful debut for Busch with Richard Childress Racing after he completed a 15-year run with Joe Gibbs Racing last year.
The two-time Cup Series champion said in his statement that, regarding his detainment, he and his family “consider this issue closed.”
Local media reports cited a recent statement by Mexico’s attorney general’s office that said a foreign national from Nevada identified as “Kyle Thomas ‘B’ ” was arrested at Cancún International Airport on Jan. 27. The man was said to be traveling back to the United States when security personnel at a terminal for private flights detected a .38 caliber gun and hollow-tip ammunition in his luggage. The staffers called over National Guard members, after which the man was charged with carrying a firearm without a license and illegally possessing the ammunition.
Two days later, a judge sentenced the man to three years and six months in prison, per the attorney general’s office. The man was fined 20,748 pesos — about $1,100.
Busch, whose middle name is Thomas, was raised in Las Vegas before moving to North Carolina. A photo posted by his wife on Instagram on Jan. 30 indicated they were staying in the Cancún area.
It is unclear whether Busch, if he is the person referred to in the attorney general’s statement, continues to face legal liability in Mexico. A spokesperson for Richard Childress Racing did not immediately respond Monday night to a request for comment.
“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,” Busch said in his statement.
“I was not aware of Mexican law,” he added, “and had no intention of bringing a handgun into Mexico. … I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter.”
Busch will not face any penalty from NASCAR, according to NBC Sports.