Mom of 7 jailed in Mexico: 'I just want to go home'
From the Mexican jail where she is being held on suspicion of drug smuggling, an Arizona mother of seven pleaded her innocence.
“I feel, like, trapped,’’ Yanira Maldonado told Miguel Almaguer in an interview that aired on TODAY Thursday. “I wanted to find a way out, and I’m telling them I’m innocent, I’m innocent. I keep saying what happened, and I’m still here, so I just have faith in the Lord.”
“I just want to be back home right now with my family, my kids and my husband,’’ Maldonado said.
Story: Family: We fear mom jailed in Mexico 'will be lost'
Maldonado was detained on May 22 after soldiers claimed they found 12 pounds of marijuana taped under her seat on a bus. She and her husband were returning to the U.S. from a funeral. Maldonado has not been charged with a crime.
“My spirit is good,’’ she said. “It’s better right now, but I get concerned, too, because I just want to go home. I want to be free.”
The Mexican military officials involved in her case did not appear at a court hearing Wednesday, and no decision was made on her release. Maldonado’s attorney is now hoping surveillance video from the bus station will prove that she did not bring any drugs on board.
A devout Mormon from Goodyear, Ariz., Maldonado was born in Mexico but is a naturalized American citizen. She believes she may have been set up at the military checkpoint, where soldiers initially accused her husband, Gary Maldonado, of smuggling the marijuana before detaining her instead.
The U.S. State Department and Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona have been keeping a close eye on the case.
“Knowing this family, I find it incredulous that they would be involved in any kind of drug smuggling,’’ Salmon told TODAY.
“I am worried about my kids,’’ Maldonado said. “They need me there.”