CREATED May. 28, 2013
NOGALES (KGUN9-TV) - Forty-two-year-old mother of seven, Yanira Maldonado sits in a Mexican jail, accused of trying to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana across the US border last week.
Mexican authorities arrested Maldonado Wednesday, as she and her husband were returning home from a family funeral.
The drugs were hidden under her bus seat.
Her family clams she was framed.
Tuesday marked day one of her trial.
9OYS spent the day camped out at the border checkpoint in Nogales and spoke with those who came to support Maldonado, including her devoted husband
It is a story that has stunned the nation; a terrifying, true tale about the risks of international travel.
Tonight, it's a tale that is tearing a family apart.
"She's a person with strong morals. She would never do anything like that," said Anna Soto about her mother, during an appearance on CNN.
Tuesday, after hours of defense testimony, Gary Maldonado says his wife, who he only saw through a wire window, is struggling to stay strong.
"They allowed me to go see her for a few hours, from 8 to 12," he said. "Touching her and holding her fingers... she is just emotional."
Maldonado knows his nightmare may have only just begun. Much of it is in a language he can't understand.
"I think my testimony went really good, and it seemed like we had a strong case," he said.
Maldonado is accompanied by attorney and family friend, Dustin Jones.
"I've looked at the file," said Jones. "I've looked at the charges, and there is no case. There's no case. It would never stand up in any U.S. court of law."
But that's a point that does little to comfort a husband, worried for his wife; her fate dependent upon a foreign legal system, riddled with corruption.
"We were offered a bribe, and then they took it away from us. I was the first one accused," said Gary Maldonado. "We we get to the PGR, they put her in and let me out."
Now, all he can do is sit and wait for day two of a trial that could lead to years behind bars for his beloved wife.
"We just can't believe that this nightmare is happening to us," he said. "We just want to wake up from this nightmare."
To see the full interview with Gary Maldonado, click here.