American Mother Held In Mexican Jail Calls Drug Charges A Set Up

An Arizona mother is speaking out for the first time after she was arrested for allegedly trying to cross the U.S. / Mexican border with 12 pounds of pot. She says she is innocent. INSIDE EDITION has the report.

An American mom finds herself in a nightmare.

She's locked up in a notorious Mexican prison after being pulled off a bus with her husband.
42-year-old Yanira Maldonado is speaking out for the first time from jail. She said, "I'm going to be free, I’m not guilty. I have nothing to hide.”

She says she's being framed after soldiers say they found 12 pounds of pot under her bus seat. Now, she faces 10 years behind bars. Her story is causing national outrage.

"They said they found something under my seat, but I never signed anything, they didn't show me anything," she said.

Yanira and her husband, Gary, were on a bus travelling back to their home in Phoenix after attending a family funeral in Mexico. She's a devout Mormon and a mother of seven who's never been in trouble before.

She said, “I was in shock. This is not real, this is not happening.”

INSIDE EDITION’s Paul Boyd spoke to another U.S. citizen who knows what it’s like to be locked up in a Mexican prison.  

Jon Hammar is a former U.S. Marine who was shackled in a Mexican prison cell for four months last year.  He was arrested for carrying an antique shotgun across the border, even though he had a permit for it.

Boyd asked, "What would this mother be going through in terms of her emotional make-up as she sits inside a Mexican prison?"

Hammar said, "There is probably a bunch of different lawyers and people in the court that are trying to take advantage of her, because we are a hot commodity, Americans in Mexico." 

Boyd asked, "How did you make it through?"

Hammar said, "You just got to make it through. I don't know how I did it, but I did it."

Hammar was released from prison in December.

So, is Yanira like the character from Showtime’s TV show Weeds, a suburban mom who dabbles in drug dealing?

Or is she a victim of a corrupt judicial system targeting innocent Americans.