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World Youth Day pilgrim wrongly arrested for drugs

After 48 hours in jail, authorities admit error over 10 kg of cocaine

World Youth Day pilgrim wrongly arrested for drugs

File photo: Shutterstock

David Agren for Catholic News Service

July 22, 2013

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A pilgrimage to World Youth Day took a detour through prison for a Mexican preschool teacher after an inadvertent brush with the illegal drug trade.

The ordeal, which made national headlines and prompted intervention from Mexico's attorney general, ended well for Angel de Maria Soto Zarate, who was exonerated July 17.

It was uncertain if she would make it to Rio de Janeiro in time for the opening of World Youth Day July 23.

Soto, 23, departed her hometown of Xalapa in Veracruz state for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro July 11, but her passport went missing while changing planes in Lima, Peru, and she was sent back to Mexico.

The teacher was arrested upon arrival in Mexico City for supposedly carrying 22 pounds of cocaine in her suitcase. She was sent to a prison in Nayarit state, 460 miles west of the capital, where she was held incommunicado for 48 hours.

Young Mexicans began protesting for her release with social media campaigns with the hashtag #liberADMe, while the Archdiocese of Xalapa pressured public officials.

"The attorney general just admitted the innocence of Angel de Maria. She will be freed. Continue offering prayers," Father Jose Juan Sanchez Jacome, archdiocesan spokesman, tweeted on his account July 17, when the release was announced.

Full Story: Teacher's WYD pilgrimage detoured by brush with illicit drug trade

Source: Catholic News Service

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