Brenda Martin returns to Canada

Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman who spent more than two years in a Mexican jail, arrived at an airport in southwestern Ontario on Thursday and was promptly whisked away to a federal prison.

Mexican judge sentenced Trenton, Ont., woman to 5 years in prison

Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman who spent more than two years in a Mexican jail, arrived at an airport in southern Ontario on Thursday and was promptly whisked away to a federal prison.

Several of Brenda Martin's friends welcomed her at the airport on Thursday evening. ((CBC))
Martin, from Trenton, Ont., had been working in Mexico and was found guilty last week of money laundering by a Mexican judge. She had been in a Guadalajara-area jail since 2006, with the past few months spent sedated and on suicide watch.

A government-chartered jet carrying Martin touched down at Waterloo Regional Airport shortly before 6 p.m. ET, the CBC's Ron Charles reported.

Accompanied by Canadian officials, Martin was loaded into a Corrections Service of Canada van and taken to the Grand Valley Institute for Women, in nearby Kitchener.

Several friends and supporters were at the airport to greet Martin as her plane touched down on home soil.

One woman held up a sign with "Welcome home, Brenda" written in large black letters. "Woohoo," the friend screamed, "She's home. She's home finally."

'I know she'll be OK now': mother

Friend and advocate Debra Tieleman said she was relieved to finally have Martin back home after months of pressing for her return.

Brenda Martin has spent the last 26 months in a Mexican prison. ((Paul Hunter/CBC))
"It's been a long long time trying to get Brenda back to Canada," Tieleman said, smiling. "I'm sure there isn't a happier person right now than Brenda Martin."

Martin's mother, Marjorie Bletcher, 69, said she learned only Thursday morning that her daughter was coming home, but she feared for her safety until the moment she landed in Canada.

"I couldn't believe it, you know, because there've been so many ups and downs," Bletcher told CBC News.

"I know she'll be OK now," she said, adding that she hopes her daughter receives psychiatric care as soon as possible due to the toll incarceration has taken.

Her lawyer, Guillermo Cruz Rico, said Martin will be eligible for parole and could be free in a couple of months.

"Brenda has to go through a process," Rico said. "That process has to be before Correctional Service of Canada.

"At some point, we're going to find out if Brenda would be able to get free in a couple of months."

Martin can apply for parole immediately upon arrival at a Canadian facility, as she has already served one-third of her sentence, counting time served before the verdict, the CBC's Paul Hunter reported.

Maintains innocence in $60M internet fraud

Martin was convicted of money laundering by a Mexican judge last week and sentenced to five years in prison in Mexico without parole, as well as a fine of 35,800 pesos, or around $3,500.

Last week, the Conservative government paid the fine in order to expedite her transfer.

Jason Kenney, the secretary of state for multiculturalism, travelled to the prison near Guadalajara last week to discuss arrangements for her transfer.

Kenney said the fine was paid through a special Foreign Affairs fund for distressed Canadians abroad. Martin will be expected to repay the government.

Martin, 51, was accused of participating in a $60 million internet fraud scheme run by Canadian Alyn Waage, who was convicted of fraud in 2006 and is serving a 10-year term in a U.S. prison.

Mexican investigators said Martin, who worked as Waage's chef in Puerto Vallarta for 10 months, accepted a severance package knowing the money came from the scam.

But Martin maintained her innocence, saying she knew nothing of Waage's schemes. Waage's testimony corroborated her story.

With files from the Canadian Press