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A Mexican court released an American woman detained over allegations she tried to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana under a bus seat.
Yanira Maldonado, an Arizona resident and mother of seven, had denied the charges. She was released Thursday night after the court determined that the prosecutors did not provide evidence.
Her husband, Gary Maldonado, tearfully embraced his wife after she was released. They headed back to Arizona early Friday morning. The case has sparked widespread media coverage and attention from U.S. lawmakers as family members pushed for her freedom.
Security camera footage revealed in court Thursday shows Maldonado and her husband boarding a bus in Mexico last week. They are carrying a purse, two blankets and two bottles of water.
It's an everyday scene that plays out at bus stations around the world. But in this case, defense attorney Francisco Benitez argued that the images are a crucial piece of evidence.
Why? Because nothing they're carrying, he said, could hold the amount of marijuana that Maldonado was accused of smuggling.
Video footage suggests that someone else brought the marijuana aboard the bus, the lawyer said.
Packages of marijuana allegedly recovered from under Maldonado's seat would not have fit in her purse, Benitez said.
Her attorneys also presented documents that show that she and her husband have no criminal records in the United States, Benitez said.
Word that the surveillance video had been shown in court was a big relief, her husband said.
"That was the key that would help us prove her innocence," he said.
"It showed right on the film clear as day there's no way you could carry 12 pounds or 5.7 kilos with one arm," he said.
The Mexican military officials who arrested Maldonado haven't made their case yet in court. The soldiers were scheduled to appear Wednesday but didn't show.