Peru ‘drug mule’ accused: Family set to visit

Melissa Reid, front, and Michaella McCollum Connolly, behind right, are escorted to court by police. Picture: AP

Melissa Reid, front, and Michaella McCollum Connolly, behind right, are escorted to court by police. Picture: AP

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RELATIVES of one of two women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million out of Peru are preparing to visit her in prison.

Michaella McCollum’s solicitor is helping her family with arrangements.

The Northern Irish woman and fellow suspect, Scot Melissa Reid, both 20, face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted, a Peruvian prosecutor’s office in Callao, near Lima, has said.

During a court appearance on Wednesday, the pair were formally charged with the promotion of drug trafficking and denied bail.

Ms McCollum, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and Reid, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, claim they were forced to carry the drugs – concealed in food packages – by an armed gang who threatened their family members.

During this week’s hearing, judge Dilo Huaman asked why they did not ask for help when they arrived at Lima airport, to which they replied that they were threatened by someone anonymous. The prosecutor told the court that their story was “incoherent”, according to reports.

Ms McCollum’s solicitor is still in Peru.

His office said: “Mr Peter Madden, lawyer for Michaella McCollum, is currently dealing with urgent matters pertaining to Michaella’s situation in Peru and making arrangements for family visits.”

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