Peru Two sentenced for drug smuggling

Published Tuesday, 17 December 2013
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Dungannon woman Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid from Scotland have both been sentenced to six years and eight months in a Peruvian jail for drug smuggling.

The two 20-year-olds have been held in custody in the South American country after 11kg of cocaine was found in their luggage in August.

Both women maintained that they knew the drugs - worth an estimated £1.5m - were in their bags, but that a gang forced them at gunpoint to carry the cocaine.

The pair, who have already served four months in custody, faced a maximum of 15 years in prison if the case went to trial and they were found guilty.

At the end of September McCollum and Reid decided to plead guilty in exchange for a lower sentence.

Although they received the expected tariff, there had been uncertainty over whether the judge would accept their plea bargain after prosecutors demanded a full confession.

The pair were sentenced by Judge Pedro Miguel Puente Bardales on Tuesday in what was described as a "brief process" in a Lima court.

"The women were very calm as the sentence was handed down at the court in the Sarita Colonia prison," judicial spokesman Daniel Vega explained.

So far they have been held at the notorious Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima but the spokesman said they would now begin serving their sentence in a Santa Monica prison.

He added: "It is still not clear whether they will be able to serve part of their sentence in the UK - the judge said that was not a decision for the court and they would have to reach an agreement with the prosecution."

© UTV News
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18 Comments
Frosty in Here wrote (120 days ago):
God help them, victims of the war on drugs. A harsh sentence for something that happens on an otherwise daily basis.
David in BELFAST wrote (122 days ago):
I have no sympathy for these girls (sorry drug smugglers). They knew EXACTLY what they were doing as they were getting well paid to do it. If you ask me they got let off extremely lightly with their sentence. The judge should have sent them down for the maximum 15yrs to make an example of them. At least theres one good thing that will come out of it. The jails in Lima are a lot tougher and stricter than the jails over here. No X-Box's, Playstations or TV's to watch/play over there. No 5 star hotel style treatment like they get here.
Linda in Bangor wrote (122 days ago):
Dont think they should do any time in uk, y shud we pay for them.
Hugh in Belfast wrote (122 days ago):
Makes me cringe when people say 'shame on you' as if they are holier than thou. Are you really having a go at UTV for reporting a news story impartially R Dean?
howard marks in out-there wrote (123 days ago):
a future episode of banged up abroad
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