Mexican court frees Arizona mom accused of drug smuggling


by Andrew Michalscheck and Natalie Brand

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 2:03 PM

GOODYEAR, -- Yanira Maldonado arrived back to her home in Goodyear surrounded with family and greeted by balloons, flowers and homemade signs.  She's expected to address the media at 7:15pm.

A family spokesperson says the Maldonado family has spent Friday resting and eating, enjoying their time together.
"We have a big family, so all the extended family was there (at the reunion)," said Brandon Klippel, on behalf of the family.  "There was a lot of food. It was quiet and calm."
The Maldonados say they look forward to returning to normal life after a nightmare that lasted nine days.

Maldonado made national headlines after 12 pounds of marijuana were found underneath her seat on a commercial bus traveling from Mexico to Phoenix.

Maldonado had been charged with drug smuggling, but surveillance video showed Maldonado and her husband, Gary Maldonado, getting onto the bus with just a blanket and a purse.

“It showed on the film clear as day there was no way you could carry 12 pounds with one arm,” said Gary Maldonado. “We switched the blankets, nothing in the blankets, and it showed that on the tape.”

Gary Maldonado previously said that a man sitting behind them on the bus fled when the vehicle was being inspected. He suspects the man might have been responsible for the marijuana. contributed to this story

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