'Key' Day in Court For Arizona Mother Held in Mexico on Drug Charges

Yanira Maldonado's family says she is falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned.

May 29, 2013— -- The family of an Arizona mother of seven detained in Mexico said today is "key" in court because the soldiers who accused her of smuggling drugs are expected to testify.

Yanira Maldonado, 42, was detained a week ago today in Hermosillo, Mexico, after soldiers at a check point said they found 12 pounds of marijuana under her bus seat.

The soldiers are expected to testify today and will be cross-examined by Maldonado's attorney, her brother-in-law, Brandon Klippel, wrote in an email update to ABCNews.com.

"This is the crux of the prosecution, so today is key," Klippel said.

Maldonado's daughter, Anna Soto, who just returned from Mexico where she visited her mother in jail, said she is worried sick about her mom, as their family works to win her freedom.

"She held my hand and told me everything was going to be OK," Soto told ABC News. "I want my mom home. Please. I just want her home."

Soto says her mother was falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned so the authorities could collect a bribe from the family.

"I don't think it really matters anymore who put it there, what happened," she said. "What they're trying to get, the money. It's not about that to me anymore. I mean who cares, just bring her back. Let her come home."

The Mexican Embassy in Washington said in a statement Tuesday that Maldonado's "rights to a defense counsel and due process are being observed."

Maldonado is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico, her family told The Associated Press.

The family's ordeal began May 22 when Maldonado and her husband, Gary, were returning from a funeral in Mexico when the bus on which they were traveling was stopped at a military checkpoint outside of Hermosillo, Sonora, Maldonado's brother-in-law, Brandon Klippel, told ABCNews.com via email.

Everyone was ordered off the bus and huddled in a small room with an X-ray machine for their luggage, Klippel said.

"After everyone on the bus had been waiting over two hours, a soldier approached Gary, took his identification and said, 'Unfortunately, there were drugs found under your seat,'" Klippel wrote in an account on the family's Facebook page.

Maldonado waited for an attorney, according to Klippel, when authorities told him he was free to go and that the drugs were actually found beneath his wife's bus seat and she was being arrested.

"We have no need to do something like that," Gary Maldonado told ABC News. "Logic tells you this is a frame set up."

The family said an attorney told them they could bribe the judge, so Maldonado frantically had family wire him $5,000 for the bribe. But he says though the money was offered, it was not accepted.

Yanira Maldonado was transferred to a holding facility in the border town of Nogales.

If a federal judge rules that Maldonado should face trial, Klippel said she could wait in jail for months while police investigate her case.

The office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he is monitoring the case and has been in contact with Maldonado's family, as well as officials in Mexico and the United States

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