Photo: Yanira Maldonado in Mexican Jail
American citizen, Mormon mother of 7 and Mexican tourist - Yanira Maldonado – is living out many of our worse nightmares: jailed in a Mexican prison on drug charges.
The Phoenix resident traveled to Sonora, Mexico on May 22nd to attend a family funeral when 12 pounds of marijuana were found under the seat of the bus she was traveling in with husband Gary Maldonado.
According to the family they were the only U.S. citizens aboard a bus traveling outside of Hermosillo, traveling back to the U.S. The bus was stopped some 90 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Soldiers had set up a routine military checkpoint when the bus was stopped and passengers asked to exit. After a search authorities arrested Gary only later to be told they were mistaken and charging his wife.
The family is horrified by the turn of events that has put the 42-year-old mother in a Mexican prison on smuggling charges. Her husband claims Mexican authorities made the arrest to obtain bribe money.
Mexican soldiers that conducted the search testified at a hearing on Wednesday. Meanwhile Maldonado sits in a prison in Nogales in the state of Sonora.
Maldonado maintains her innocence. Many are voicing their support of Maldonado as the case starts getting a lot of international attention. The Maldonado family has enlisted the help of AZ Senator Jeff Flake, the local Mexican Consulate and a growing support base on a Facebook page. The incident was even brought up Tuesday at a State Department briefing. Many find it incredible to believe that Maldonado could of carried over 12 pounds of pot on the bus without being seen and that she would be involved in any illegal activity.
According to CNN “The Mexican Embassy in Washington said in a statement that a preliminary decision from the judge was expected soon.” As early as Thursday a federal judge could review the case to decide if Maldonado is to remain in prison or be released.