NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. - Prosecutors in Okinawa released Chiba Lotte Marines infielder Yamaico Navarro on Tuesday following his arrest Sunday evening on suspicion of concealing a bullet in his bag in breach of Japan’s firearm law.
The 28-year-old Dominican, who signed with Lotte last month, was arrested at Naha airport i after a single live pistol round was found in his bag during a security check.
Naha prosecutors said they saw no need to keep Navarro in custody. Police had referred his case to prosecutors earlier Tuesday.
Police said Navarro told them the bullet came from his home in the Dominican Republic and he did not notice it was in the bag.
Navarro apologized for the incident following his release, saying he “had no idea such a thing would happen.”
“I would like to acknowledge that what’s happened has happened, and repay my debt through baseball,” he said.
Navarro’s arrest echoes that of then Chunichi Dragons pitcher and fellow Dominican Maximo Nelson in 2010. Nelson was arrested at Naha airport after being found in possession of a live round.
Naha prosecutors dropped the charge against Nelson, but he was barred from playing for a period of three months.
According to the Dominican consulate general in Tokyo, possession of firearms and ammunition is legal in the Dominican Republic with an appropriate license.