US Woman Accused of Drug Smuggling

Criminal defense lawyers discussion of wrongfully jailed woman in Mexico.  Yanira Maldonado and her family were visiting Mexico for her aunt’s funeral.  As they traveled on their bus back home to Arizona, it was stopped at a military checkpoint about 170 miles from the US-Mexico border.  At the checkpoint, the soldiers ordered all the people off the buss to be interrogated, however they did not question the Maldonado family.

Apparently, there had been 12 pounds of marijuana under a bus seat, attached with a bungee cord.  The soldiers began to target her husband, Gary.  Hours later, the Mexican authorities changed their story and said that the drugs were under Yanira’s seat.  Mrs. Maldonado, a mormon mother of seven, was then accused of trafficking and possession.  As Maldonado was taken to jail, a local attorney arrived and allegedly told Gary, “You know how it works in Mexico, right?” and explained money would secure his wife’s release.  “The attorney that Gary called was from a list of attorneys who were ranked on a list of how well they spoke English. He talked to the prosecuting attorney before he talked to Gary, and then he came to Gary and said, ‘If we give them money, they’ll release your wife.'”

Gary offered prosecutors $3,500 initially; however, the prosecuting attorney wanted $5,000.  Gary had the money wired from family and paid the prosecutor, only to find out that his wife had not been released, but moved to another jail.  Following this incident, the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C., said federal officials are in “close communication” with Mexico’s government to guarantee Mrs. Maldonado’s right to assistance of an attorney.

Regarding his sister’s innocence, Maldonado’s brother stated that “they have witnesses who saw that they were the last ones to get on the bus.  They saw them put their luggage underneath and get on the bus without anything with them. How they managed to hide big blocks of marijuana and bungee-cord them underneath is overwhelmingly ridiculous.”

Fortunately, Maldonado was released after nine days in Mexian jail.  Court officials obtained security footage which showed the couple boarding the bus with only their personal belongings.

Maldonado does not blame Mexico for what transpired; she stressed to reporters at a press conference in Arizona that the mistake was the fault of “a few people,” not the country. With a shrug, she said that she had just sat in the wrong seat.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal defense lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.