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Peru drug arrests: Plead guilty, father urges accused

Michaella McCollum, left, and Melissa Reid, both 20, say they were forced at gunpoint to smuggle cocaine out of Peru . Picture: Getty

Michaella McCollum, left, and Melissa Reid, both 20, say they were forced at gunpoint to smuggle cocaine out of Peru . Picture: Getty

  • by GARETH ROSE
 

THE father of a Scottish woman locked up in Peru on suspicion of attempting to smuggle out £1.5 million worth of cocaine has urged her to plead guilty.

William Reid, 53, who flew out to support his daughter Melissa, 20 – who is remanded in custody with co-accused Michaella McCollum, also 20 – called the two women’s position “indefensible”.

He was speaking as a police transcript emerged in a Sunday newspaper covering the women’s journey from Ibiza to a Peruvian interrogation room.

Melissa Reid, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, and McCollum, from Northern Ireland, say they were forced at gunpoint to act as drug mules. But police have questioned why they did not alert airport authorities.

Mr Reid said: “It’s indefensible to say they didn’t have drugs or know they had drugs. They were found to have drugs on them. They collected packages that transpired to be drugs. They are going to be guilty of that.”

The accused “may be living in cloud cuckoo land”, he added. “They should plead guilty. They should work with the authorities, tell them everything they know.”

He also admitted: “I’m still not 100 per cent about their story.”

The pair said they were forced to act as drug mules by a man named Jake, who they met while in Ibiza.

In her statement to police in Peru, Reid said: “Jake told me to pack my things and took my passport. When we got into his car he pulled out a gun and threatened me.”

The women said the reason they did not alert the authorities was because they feared for their lives and their families. McCollum told police: “He [Enrique, one of the gangsters] took out my Blackberry and showed me photos of my relatives from social media. I started to argue and he pulled out a gun and pointed it at my head.”

The pair both told police they met for the first time in Majorca before flying to Peru on separate flights. They took a trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu, taking photos so they appeared to be tourists, and then returned to Lima.

Reid said: “Enrique called to give us instructions on how to pack the drugs inside our suitcases. I started to cry and told him I couldn’t do it.

“He said his friends were constantly watching us and we would be killed if we didn’t do exactly as he said. I couldn’t sleep that night.”

When they were taken for questioning at the airport, Reid said she initially was relieved, as she believed she was out of the clutches of the gangsters.

“They took us to a room where there was a police officer with a dog and many people,” she said. “They opened my suitcases and asked me if it was mine. I said yes.”

The women could wait up to three years before trial and face a sentence of 15 years if convicted.

 
 
 

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