US mom of 7 fights drug smuggling claim

2013-05-29 17:28


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Phoenix — A mother of seven from Arizona is jailed in Mexico on allegations that she tried to smuggle nearly 5.4kg of marijuana into the US on a passenger bus — claims her family members say are false.

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

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 145km from the US-Mexico border.

Maldonado was arrested after soldiers inspected the bus and reported finding the marijuana underneath her seat, according to a spokesperson 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, DC, said in a statement on Tuesday that Yanira Maldonado's "rights to a defence counsel and due process are being observed". The embassy didn't respond to allegations she was framed.

Military officers to testify

Maldonado is a naturalised US 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 spokesperson 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 on 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 spokesperson for the US State Department in Mexico, confirmed Maldonado's arrest but referred all questions to her attorney and Mexican authorities.

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

Read more on:    us  |  mexico

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.