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Skipper Home After Mexico Arrest

A California yacht captain is home at last after a long adventure that included a 40-day confinement in Mexico for what he said were trumped-up gun-smuggling charges.

A welcome-home party awaited Scott McClung, 36, Wednesday when he sailed into home port, reports CBS Station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

McClung's saga began last summer when he picked up the 145-foot Rapture from a shipbuilder in Panama City, Fla., and embarked on a maiden voyage with his 71-year-old father and their first mate, Noah Bailey.

Engine problems forced the yacht to land Aug. 10 on Cozumel, where all three were arrested after Mexican authorities said they found assault rifles and shotguns aboard the boat.

McClung said the weapons, for protection against pirates, were kept in plain sight and declared to inspectors.

McClung's crew was later released, but he was held in Mexico while ambassadors, U.S. lawmakers, and top law enforcement officials worked to free him.

Mexico's attorney general dropped the charges against McClung and released him Sept. 18.

Eighty to 100 U.S. citizens are being held in Mexico on weapons charges, many of them dubious, the State Department estimates. The department has been issuing warnings and posting signs at land crossings.

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