As families continue to search for the 11 alleged Mexico City bar kidnapping victims, Arizona mom Yanira Maldonado is being freed from a Mexican jail after being arrested for allegedly trying to transport five kilos of marijuana from the city of Mochis in Sinaloa in Mexico to the U.S., according to ABC News on Friday, May 31.
Yanira Maldonado and her husband Gary both came under suspicion when they were found to be sitting on cushions in a bus that contained 12 pounds of marijuana. However, initially it was Gary that police focused on during the checkpoint bus stop at the city of Hermosillo in Sonora, Mexico.
When Yanira sought to act as his language mediator during his interrogation there, she unwittingly became the focus of police instead, resulting in her arrest and his release.
Video footage of the couple entering the bus in Mochis was viewed later by authorities, and it showed that the items in their hands could not have been used to transport as large a quantity of drugs onto the public transportation vehicle as they were being accused of, fortunately.
Additionally, the way in which the drugs were adhered to the bottom of their seats makes it almost impossible for the couple (or either one individually) to have been able to secure the drugs to the bottom portion of their seating locations due to the lack of necessary tools needed for the job.
They didn’t have that kind of privacy to attach drugs to the bottom of the bus while in transit either, of course, which helped Yanira’s case in the end, resulting in her release on Thursday night.
ABC News’ Legal Analyst Dan Abrams says he believes that this case will be “resolved diplomatically,” because the case has garnered so much publicity that it is now at “too high a level” not to involve the state department.
That’s a good thing since the U.S. State Department’s most recent OSAC Crime and Safety Report for Hermosillo reflects that Sinaloa, where the American couple first boarded the bus, is not only the stronghold for the Sinaloa Cartel–it is also a city plagued with so much violence (even against police convoys and state leaders), that in 2010 the officials in the state changed their personnel travel policies to reduce travel to and from there, hoping to avoid more ambushes and attacks on their convoys.
When police and other leaders eschew driving through an area you know it is not safe for tourists to be traveling. Unfortunately, of all the warnings issued by the U.S. State Department against Mexico travel, riding on a bus from Mochis, Sinaloa to Hermosillo, Sonora isn’t one of them.
And while police corruption is a known problem for this country as a general rule, the soldiers from the Mexican Army who inspected the bus in which the drugs were found may not have been part of any corrupt effort to target the Maldonado family.
In fact, they may have just been doing their job since the Sinaloa Cartel operates in the area. And how do police at that checkpoint or any other really know if Americans aren’t visiting the country for underhanded reasons?
The fact that the officers did not show up for the court hearing that eventually resulted in the Arizona mom’s release on Thursday, however, does make one wonder why not.
Copyright 2013 Radell Smith
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