A mother of seven (who is also a grandmother to two) was arrested and jailed in Mexico for attempting to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.
But this case isn’t as clear as it seems; Yanira Maldonado believes she was framed.
Maldonado and her husband, Gary, were traveling back from her aunt’s funeral last week, when their bus was stopped at a military checkpoint. Soldiers searched the bus and reportedly found 12 pounds of marijuana underneath Maldonado’s seat and an empty seat next to her.
The authorities then demanded $5,000 for her release, a sum Gary Maldonado is calling a “bribe.” But when they refused to give them the money, Mexican authorities imprisoned Yanira. The Maldonados were reportedly the only US citizens aboard the bus.
When Gary Maldonado came back the next day, after raising the $5,000, police told him it was too late. She had already been transferred to a jail in Nogales. He visited Yanira there on Saturday.
“She had a rough night,” [Maldonado’s brother-in law Brandon] Klippel told KPHO. “Their interrogation included putting her in a non-air-conditioned room and waking her up several times in the middle of night – trying to get her to sign documents that she said she couldn’t read.”
Looks like there isn’t much the family can do now, but the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and a Senator from Arizona are keeping their eye on the case.
The Mexican Embassy in Washington DC released a statement saying that Yanira Maldonado’s “rights to a defense counsel and due process are being observed.”
According to a statement issued by his office, Jeff Flake, a Republican Senator from Arizona, “is personally monitoring the situation and has had multiple conversations with the deputy Mexican ambassador.”
Damn. This sounds like an episode of Locked Up Abroad. If she didn’t do it, American authorities need to rally together quick to get her out.