Published Tuesday, 20 August 2013
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Michaella McCollum Connolly, from Dungannon, and Melissa Reid, from the Glasgow area, were taken away from their appearance at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Callao in handcuffs on Tuesday.
The pair, both aged 20, face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted, the prosecutor's office added. They were brought to a detention centre a few miles away where they will remain overnight.
Ms McCollum Connolly's lawyer Peter Madden told Reuters he was still unsure of the exact charges.
The pair have already spent two weeks in custody suspected of attempting to smuggle 11kg of cocaine worth £1.5m.
Both deny the allegations and claim they were forced at gunpoint to make the journey from the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza, where they had been working in bars, after being befriended by a man from London.
Earlier, Mr Madden claimed that his client was duped.
He said that there was speculation that possibly the women were used as a sort of a decoy or a diversion.
It looks as if they were set up, they were duped, they were held at gunpoint, forced to do this, possibly to let a bigger shipment through at the airport.
In a later interview, Mr Madden criticised media reports which alleged that his client owed money to a drugs dealer after CCTV emerged that police officers claim shows Ms McCollum Connolly walking freely in Peru's capital.
"Michaella McCollum did not owe any money to any drugs dealer. She was not and is not involved in the drugs trade.
"She has no criminal record, has never been in trouble with the police in her life. She was not seen on video carrying drugs as was alleged in one newspaper. She was carrying her handbag and it was pretty obvious that it wasn't drugs, but that was the report. She was not out shopping in Lima and spending a lot of money. That didn't happen," he added.
Ms McCollum Connolly's family had at first launched a major online missing person campaign from Dungannon after she had not been heard from in 12 days.
However, it later emerged that the women had been detained at the airport in Lima boarding a plane bound for Madrid.
Colonel Julio Vera, head of Peru's drug police, explained how the women were arrested.
"The intervention was made at the check-in desk, our officers noticed they were nervous. It was the way they arrived, they were alone, the type of luggage they were carrying," he said.
"The first thing our personnel did was to make an intervention and ask them for their identification, after that they asked them to identify their baggage and that's when they found the drugs."
He continued: "To begin with, I definitely think they were recruited by a criminal drug trafficking organisation that has still yet to be identified.
"They usually look for young, attractive girls who might want easy money or the opportunity of travelling to another country - and sometimes these girls aren't very well informed."
The women could face up to three years in prison before a trial.
© UTV News