|Irish woman and Glasgow teen face Peru charges over 11 kilo cocaine haul worth HK$18m
Two young suspected drug mules from Britain and Ireland appeared in a Peruvian court to face drug charges, in a case that has triggered sensational headlines and suspicions about their tales back home. (Pictured, Irish woman Michaella McCollum Connolly).
Two weeks ago, 20-year-old Michaella McCollum Connolly and 19-year-old Melissa Reid who is from Glasgow, were arrested at Lima airport as they tried to board a flight to Spain carrying what Peruvian police said was 11 kilos of cocaine worth £1.5 million (HK$18.2 million).
The court is expected to announce charges of drug trafficking against them today. The district attorney, Juan Rosas is yet to reveal the charges.
The cocaine had been sealed in Quaker oats packs and coffee sachets.
Connolly, from Dungannon, Northern Ireland, had previously been reported missing from her job on the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza, and well-wishers had launched a massive internet campaign to find her.
British media reports say Melissa's friend Rebecca Hughes, 20, has admitted they took horse tranquilizer ketamine while they were in Ibiza, Spain.
After their arrest, the women told British reporters they had been kidnapped by a drugs cartel, taken to Peru and forced to transport drugs.
But the claim was met with widespread skepticism and the pair now face trafficking charges. They could be jailed for 15 years.
The women's stories are now seen with further disbelief after photographs surfaced that allegedly show them on a balcony and also on a beach with glasses of beer days before they were arrested at Lima airport.
The women claimed they had been asked to take such photos at tourist locales to show they are friends on holiday.
“They have left police custody and been handed over to state judicial authorities,'' Colonel Tito Perez, head of the Peruvian police's anti-drug command, told AFP.
The pair was led into the court in handcuffs, as photographers and Reid's British parents, who flew out in recent days to support her, looked on.—AFP/The Standard