Ariz. woman jailed in Mexico still facing legal fight

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Yanira and her husband Gary Maldonado always said surveillance video of them boarding a bus in Mexico in May would prove Yanira wasn't a drug smuggler.

The 42-year-old mother from Glendale was facing a decade in a Mexican prison, accused of hiding 12 pounds of marijuana under her bus seat.

"If I was put in prison for 10 years my life will (sic) be over," said Yanira.

The couple hired a Mexican defense attorney who subpoenaed the surveillance video from Tufesa, the bus company.

The video shows Yanira getting on the bus carrying her purse and water bottles. She can be seen handing two blankets to her husband who tucks them under his arm.

"First there's no way you can hold 12 pounds of marijuana in one arm like this and then when I rolled up the blankets there was no way that anything was inside there," said Gary.

The couple said at first they were offered a chance to pay law enforcement $5,000 and Yanira would be freed, but by the time the Maldonado's got the money together the deal was off the table.

Even though Yanira was released after 9 days in prison, Mexican authorities appealed the case and she has 3 months to again prove her innocence.

Most of Yanira's family lives in Mexico, including her grandmother who raised her and that's why she's trying to clear her name to one day revisit Mexico.

"I can't give up family," said Yanira.

The case cost the Maldonado's $20,000 and they're now trying to round up donations to help pay off the debt.

Link: Help Yanira with legal fees