NOGALES, Mexico — An Arizona woman has been released from a jail in Mexico
where she was being held on a drug-smuggling charge.
Yanira Maldonado, 42, walked out of
the jail in Nogales late Thursday night, after court officials reviewed security
footage that showed her and her husband boarding a bus in Mexico with only
blankets, bottles of water and her purse in hand.
The family was expected to return to Goodyear later in the day.
“I’m free,” she said, smiling. The mother of seven thanked her husband Gary, her lawyer, State Department officials and even prison staffers.
Maldonado was arrested by the
Mexican military last week after they found nearly 12 pounds of bagged pot under her
seat on a commercial bus.
In an interview, Maldonado said, “Someone smuggled those in there and I probably sat in the wrong seat.”
The Maldonados were traveling home to the Phoenix
suburb after attending her aunt’s funeral in the city of Los Mochis
when they were arrested.
The arrest drew national attention and U.S. government officials also followed the case closely.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted about Maldonado’s release:
Great News. Just had it confirmed by Consul General.Yanira Maldonado has been released. #FreeYanira
— Jeff Flake (@FlakeforSenate) May 31, 2013
Maldonado’s lawyer, Jose Francisco Benitez Paz, had requested a passenger manifest and video of the boarding process. He was able to question witnesses.
Gary Maldonado said he was initially arrested, then he was released and Yanira was arrested. Gary Maldonado told reporters that authorities had demanded $5,000.
The couple said it would be awhile before they returned to Mexico.
Associated Press contributed to this article.
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths