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article imageArizona mom framed in Mexico drug bust

By Ashley Woods     May 28, 2013 in World
A wife and mother of seven has been jailed in Mexico and accused of trying to smuggling 12 pounds of marijuana into the United States.
Yanira Maldonado, mother of seven, is being held in a Mexican jail on drug charges. She denies all accusations of trying to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana back into the United States.
Authorities arrested Maldonado on Wednesday as she traveled back home after attending a family funeral. At a military checkpoint in the northwestern state of Sonora, their bus was searched. This was routine, until authorities ordered everyone off the bus.
Yanira Maldonado's husband, Gary Maldonado, was arrested first when authorities accused him of hiding marijuana under his seat. Gary Maldonado's father, Larry Maldonado, told CNN that they released his son once he contacted the U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Authorities said it was a mistake. Then, they arrested the wife and mother, Yanira Maldonado.
Gary Maldonado believe the Mexican soldiers wanted some sort of pay off in exchange for her release.
Gary Maldonado first offered $3,500 for her release, but authorities said that wasn't enough. When he offered $5,000 he was told she had been moved to a woman's jail in Nogales.
A Sonora state official also believes that Yanira Maldonado was framed.
"Can you imagine?" asked the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and did not want to be named. "A passenger by himself or herself would have been unable to carry almost six kilos of marijuana onto a bus without being noticed. She must've been framed."
The family, intimidated by the unfamiliar legal system, has hired a lawyer in Mexico.
A court hearing will be held Tuesday to determine whether Yanira Maldonado will be released or held for four more months until her trial.
Family has been allowed to visit briefly. Among the tearful visitors were her children and brother-in-law, Brandon Klippel.
"She was at a wire window with her fingertips up through the holes, touching her son's hand with one hand and touching her husband's hand with the other," Klippel said. "She was just saying, 'I don't know how this happened to me. I've never done anything illegal in my life. Why has this happened?'"
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