An American woman was released from jail in Mexico on Thursday night after drug charges against her were dropped by a Mexican court.
The woman, Yanira Maldonado, was originally charged with smuggling 12 pounds of marijuana into the country under a bus seat. But Maldonado, a Mormon mother of seven, denied the charge.
A state official revealed that the woman will return to the United States soon. The case against her gained international attention, including that of US lawmakers, who watched the case closely as Yanira’s family pushed for her freedom.
Security camera footage revealed in court on Thursday shows Yanira and her husband boarding the bus with a purse, two blankets, and two bottles of water. Defense attorney Francisco Benitez argued in court that the footage was crucial to the investigation, because it showed Yanira did not bring the marijuana on board the bus.
The lawyer added that video footage suggests someone else brought the marijuana onto the bus. He explained that the packets of marijuana discovered under her seat would not have fit in her purse.
The news of the American woman’s release came as a relief to her family, who stood outside the Nogales jail, awaiting her release. Her lawyer explained late Thursday night that Yanira Maldonado was completing paperwork for her release.
While the woman was born in Mexico, she is a naturalized US citizen. She was taken into custody on May 22 by soldiers while she was on her way back to the United States from a funeral. The soldiers told her they found 12 pounds of marijuana taped under her seat.
In an interview from jail on Thursday, the woman stated, “I just want to be back home right now with my family, my kids and my husband.” She added that she turned to her Scripture to get herself through the ordeal, explaining:
“Reading the Scriptures, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, fasting. And all the support that I’ve been getting from my family, my husband, my children and everybody out there reaching out to help.”
The Arizona mother will go back to her home once she is released.