Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/29/2013 10:58 AM

Ariz. mother of 7 fights drug smuggling allegation

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- A mother of seven from Arizona is jailed in Mexico on allegations that she tried to smuggle nearly 12 pounds of marijuana into the United States on a passenger bus -- claims her family members say are false.

A court hearing was held Tuesday in Nogales, Sonora, for 42-year-old Yanira Maldonado of the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

She and her husband said they were returning from the funeral of her aunt last Wednesday when the bus they were on was stopped at a military checkpoint about 90 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Maldonado was arrested after soldiers inspected the bus and reported finding the marijuana underneath her seat, according to a spokeswoman for the army in the northern state of Sonora.

Gary Maldonado claims his wife was framed and says authorities originally demanded $5,000 for her release.

The Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., said in a statement Tuesday that Yanira Maldonado's "rights to a defense counsel and due process are being observed." The embassy didn't respond to allegations she was framed.

Maldonado is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico, her family said.

She was taken to a state prison in Nogales after being turned over to federal prosecutors, said the army spokeswoman Denisse Coronado. A federal judge will decide whether Maldonado should face trial, Coronado said.

Gary Maldonado's brother-in-law Brandon Klippel said military officers from the checkpoint were expected to testify at another court hearing Wednesday.

"I know there's people out there saying or asking, `Did she really do it? Are you sure?' And you know, it hurts to see that," Anna Sota, Maldonado's 21-year-old daughter, told Phoenix TV station KPHO. "If you would've known my mom, if you've met her, you would know she had nothing to do with it."

Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department in Mexico, confirmed Maldonado's arrest but referred all questions to her attorney and Mexican authorities.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is "personally monitoring the situation, and he has had multiple conversations with the deputy Mexican ambassador," his office said in a statement.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.