by Cortney Weil
One of the most recognizable names in NASCAR today was just handed a hefty prison sentence by a court in Mexico.
On Friday, the attorney general of Quintana Roo, the Mexican state where popular tourist destinations like Cancún and Playa del Carmen are located, announced that 37-year-old NASCAR star Kyle Busch had been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after he was found to be “carrying a firearm without a license.”
Busch, identified in the press release only as “Kyle ‘N'” or “Kyle Thomas B,” had accidentally run afoul of the Mexican law last month when he and his wife, Samantha, were on vacation, and Busch claimed he forgot that he had left a gun in his handbag. When the Busches arrived at Cancún International Airport on January 27 to hop on a private plane back to the States, authorities discovered in his belongings a .380 caliber “pistol-type firearm” with a stocked magazine containing “six useful hollow point cartridges,” the press release stated.
Because of an “expedited procedure,” Busch’s case was soon afterward placed before a “Control judge,” and that judge issued Busch the prison sentence and a fine of just over $1,000. The press release claimed that Busch “was credited with his full responsibility in the commission of the crime,” and a statement released on Busch’s Twitter account seems to confirm his admitted guilt.
“Discovery of the handgun led to my detainment while the issue was resolved,” Busch said in a statement issued on Monday. “I was not aware of Mexican law and had no intention of bringing a handgun into Mexico.”
Busch elsewhere stated that he has “a valid concealed carry permit” and that he adheres “to all handgun laws” in general.
“I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter,” Busch’s statement said.
By all accounts, the matter does appear to be resolved, though it is unclear whether Busch will ever have to serve the considerable prison sentence he was given.
“My family and I consider this issue closed,” Busch’s statement concluded.
Busch and Kevin Harvick both have 60 NASCAR Cup Series wins to their name, more than any other full-time, active driver. Busch also has 223 cumulative wins across NASCAR’s top-three series, making him the top active driver out there in that category as well. He competed in the Clash exhibition race at the Coliseum last Sunday and finished in third place.
There are several NASCAR events coming up soon, including the Pennzoil 400 on March 3 in Busch’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. His brother, Kurt Busch, is also a NASCAR driver with over 30 NASCAR Cup Series wins in his career.