Arizona Mom Yanira Maldonado Freed From Mexican Jail
The Arizona mother detained in Mexico for more than a week on drug charges has been released and returned to the U.S. after a video showed she boarded a bus with no packages that could have contained 12 pounds of marijuana, as police had alleged.
Yanira Maldonado, 42, walked out of the jail late Thursday night local time, and thanked well-wishers and Mexican officials. Maldonado told one jail official in Spanish, “Thank you for everything and the quality of person you are.”
“Is this it?” Maldonado asked officials moments after being released. “Thank you. God bless you,” she added before leaving.
Maldonado met with reporters briefly and said, “Many thanks to everyone, especially my God who let me go free, my family, my children, who with their help, I was able to survive this test,” she said.
Maldonado was met with a hug from her husband Gary, who brought her to a waiting car. The couple hugged again in the car before leaving. Maldonado was taken to Nogales, Ariz., where she spoke again to reporters about her ordeal.
“I love Mexico. My family is still there. So Mexico… it’s not Mexico’s fault. It’s a few people who you know did this to me,” she said.
Hours before her release, court officials reviewed surveillance footage that showed Maldonado and her husband boarding a bus in Mexico on May 22. Maldonado was carrying a black, medium-sized purse and two bottles of water. Her husband was carrying blankets. Maldonado was detained by authorities after Mexican soldiers said they discovered 12 pounds of marijuana under her bus at a check point in Hermosillo, Mexico.