Arizona mom of 7 who’s in Mexican jail on drug charges puts hope in judge

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The attorney for an Arizona mother of seven who is behind bars in a Mexico prison on drug charges said a judge very well could toss the case.

Yanira Maldonado, 42, is so obviously innocent, said attorney Jose Francisco Benitez Paz in an Associated Press report.

Mrs. Maldonado was arrested by Mexican military after they found 12 pounds of marijuana beneath her bus seat. But as Mr. Benitez told a judge on Wednesday, that’s hardly proof of guilt. The evidence points more to a complex drug-smuggling operation that ensnared Mrs. Maldonado by accident, he said, as the AP reported. The packets of drugs were attached to bottom sides of the bus seats via metal hooks, he said in the AP report.

“It was very well prepared,” Mr. Benitez said in the AP report. “It wasn’t something quick. It was very well done.”

Mrs. Maldonado’s case has attracted a global audience, leading some U.S. politicians to demand her release.

“You can’t imagine traveling to Mexico and the next thing you know, they accuse you of having a block of marijuana under your seat and you’re going to jail,” said Mrs. Maldonado’s brother-in-law, Brandon Klippel, in the AP report.

Officials with the Mexican Embassy in Washington say Mrs. Maldonado’s rights are being upheld. Mrs. Maldanado, a naturalized American citizen born in Mexico, has seven children.

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