By Kevin Keen. CREATED May 29, 2013
NOGALES, Sonora, Mex. (KGUN9-TV) - She was sitting on a bus and, the next thing she knew, she was sitting in a jail cell in Mexico. KGUN9 traveled south of the border to talk to Yanira Maldonado, accused of drug smuggling in that country.
At first, the jail where Maldonado has been for nearly a week wouldn't let the KGUN9 crew in. Then, a change of heart -- a chance to let the 42-year-old Arizonan speak.
“This has been the worst nightmare ever,” she said.
The mother of seven described the moment the federales accused her of smuggling 12 pounds of marijuana on a bus.
“I was in shock. I'm like, 'This is not real. This is not happening,’” Maldonado said, choking up. “I thought maybe it was a setup or a joke or something. I was just waiting for that to end. But I realize that it's real.”
With blue tennis shoes and jeans, Maldonado wore clothes her family brought her. There are no jumpsuits for inmates in this facility in Nogales, Sonora.
Outside federal court earlier in the day, Maldonado's father-in-law showed the supplies he'd just bought her.
“Cups, spoons, knives, forks, hair brush,” Larry Maldonado said.
Yanira said jailers have been treating her well but prosecutors had not. She described initally being threatened to admit she's guilty.
She's lost faith in her native Mexico.
“This country -- it means a lot to me because I'm Mexican,” she said, choking up. “I was born here. It's very sad what I'm going through.”
But this woman is certain she'll be set free before the judge's deadline on Friday to decide her fate.
“I'm going to be free! I'm not guilty. I don't have [anything] to hide,” she said. “I'm going to say, 'Thank you, God.' I'm going to scream of happiness.”