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Ariz. mother of 7 fights drug allegation in Mexico

PHOENIX — A mother from Arizona accused of trying to smuggle marijuana into the United States had a court hearing Wednesday where her lawyer pushed for her release from a Mexico prison on the grounds that she was set up.

The arrest of Yanira Maldonado, 42, has prompted outrage in the United States among politicians and her family members, who say she was framed when her bus was stopped at a military checkpoint last week and authorities found nearly 12 pounds of marijuana under her seat.

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She and her husband, Gary Maldonado, said they were returning from the funeral of her aunt at the time of the arrest. Gary Maldonado says authorities originally demanded $5,000 for her release, but the bribe fell through. The husband was initially suspected of smuggling, but later released.

In court Wednesday, Maldonado’s lawyer argued before the judge that soldiers had presented inconsistent testimony about the two packages of marijuana that they had recovered, with some saying both were found under the woman’s seat and others saying they were found under two separate seats.

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