TODAY   |  May 30, 2013

Mom facing Mexican drug charges: ‘I want to be free’

As Arizona mom of seven Yanira Maldonado’s court hearing on drug smuggling charges begins in Nogales, Mexico, she is speaking out for the first time, saying her “spirit is good,” but she just wants “to go home.” NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> but first, new surveillance video could be the key evidence in the case of an american mother in a mexican jail this morning accused of smuggling drugs . nbc's miguel almaguer is in arizona where the woman is speaking out for the first time since her arrest. miguel , good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. her court hearings have been underway all week long, but she hasn't heard a word of testimony. instead, she's been in a cell wondering if she'll get her freedom or have to wait months for a trial to begin.

>> reporter: this morning, inside a mexican jail, she spends her ninth day behind bars, but now she's breaking her silence.

>> i just want to be back home with my family and my children and my loving husband.

>> reporter: the arizona mother of seven and devout mormon is accused of being an international drug runner. born in mexico but now an american citizen believes she may have been set up.

>> it's good, it's better. but now -- but i get concerned too because i want to go home.

>> reporter: with her husband gary, she lives near phoenix. when their passenger bus was stopped at a military check point, police say they found these packages, 12 pounds of marijuana under her seat.

>> i feel like -- i wanted to find a way out. and i'm telling them i'm innocent, i'm innocent. i'm saying what happened and i'm here. just have faith.

>> reporter: in court wednesday, mexican military officials who were supposed to testify never showed up and have made no public comment. her attorney is now hoping surveillance video from the bus station will prove juanita didn't bring any drugs aboard. a rally in support of her, this as the state department and an arizona congressman familiar with the family keeps a close eye on the case.

>> knowing this family, i find it incredulous they would be involved in any kind of drug smuggling .

>> i'm worried for my kids. they need me there.

>> reporter: this morning, an american citizen still fighting for her freedom in a country where today she's still accused of smuggling drugs .

>> reporter: a judge is now reviewing this case. again, that critical piece of evidence could be that surveillance tape. meanwhile, they can only wait for a judge's decision. matt?

>> miguel almaguer in arizona this morning on this story. let