Utah sisters say Mormon relative is wrongly jailed in Mexico

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Two Utah women are scared for their sister-in-law who they said was falsely accused and detained in Mexico after police reportedly found drugs strapped to the bottom of the woman's bus seat.

Yanira Maldonado, a Mormon mother of seven, was with her husband Gary Maldonado in Mexico on May 22. The couple was returning to Arizona after attending a relative’s funeral.

Mexican authorities stopped and searched the bus Gary and Yanira were on. Police detained Yanira after two blocks of marijuana were reportedly found her under her bus seat.

Gary and Yanira were the only two Americans on the bus.

Becky Maldonado and Amy Rayner from Utah desperately want to see their sister-in-law Yanira return home to Arizona.

“She doesn’t do drugs,” Becky Maldonado said. “She’s never dealt with drugs so we’re wondering how this happened to her.”

After a failed attempt of $5,000 was refused by a Mexican judge, Yanira remained jailed Monday with little hope of being set free. Gary offered the money on advice from his attorney who informed him the law works differently in Mexico.

“We’re all worried about Yanira being in jail and what’s she’s going through,” Amy Rayner said. “I know she’s scared to death.”

Gary and Yanira’s daughter only had 10 minutes to see her in jail on Saturday. It was the one year anniversary of their wedding.

“If she gets stuck in there for three or four months we don’t know what we’re going to do,” Rayner said. “Her kids need her.”

The women have turned to Facebook to spread Yanira and Gary’s story. Relative Brian Neerings created a Facebook page called "Falsely Accused and Detained in Mexico." The page is quickly gaining popularity.

“We just hope that everything will work out and Yanira will come home safely,” Maldonado said.

Yanira is scheduled to go before a judge Tuesday in Mexico. The judge could decide to free Yanira or keep her jailed until a trial is held later this year.

Yanira is reportedly getting help from Arizona officials and her bishop.

The family is asking for anyone who has gone through a similar experience to contact them through their Facebook page.

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