Video of women held over Peru drugs

Peruvian police say that more than 24lb of cocaine was found in the luggage of Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly

Peruvian police say that more than 24lb of cocaine was found in the luggage of Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly

First published in National News © by

Video footage has emerged of the moments after two young women were arrested in Peru on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Melissa Reid, 19, from Lenzie near Glasgow, and Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, who had been living in Belfast but has an Irish passport, were arrested in Lima a week ago while trying to board a flight to Madrid.

The National Police of Peru said they found more than 24lb of cocaine - thought to be worth around £1.5 million (1.7 million euro) - hidden in food in the luggage of the two women.

In the online video, Ms Reid is questioned by a police interviewer and is heard to say: "I was forced to take these bags in my luggage."

When asked if she knew they contained drugs, the 19-year-old said: "I did not know that."

Ms Reid and Ms McCollum Connolly both left home for separate holidays in Ibiza earlier this summer.

Last week, Ms McCollum Connolly was at the centre of a Facebook and online social media appeal after her family said they had not had any contact with her for 12 days. The first they heard was when she turned up in Peruvian police custody.

Ms Reid's mother Debra told reporters she thought her daughter was in Ibiza with friends and had no idea she had travelled to Peru. Ms Reid flew to Ibiza in June and had posted numerous pictures of herself with friends on the Spanish holiday island on her Facebook page. Her last post was on July 21.

The women are said to be in custody in a police station in Lima. Foreigners arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking in Peru can remain in holding cells in the anti-drugs police headquarters for 15 days while officers investigate. Suspects are then either charged or released; if they are charged they will be transferred to prison to await a court hearing.

Lead investigator Major Manuel Siclla told the Scottish Sun: "They are okay, but are obviously worried about their families and what the future holds for them. Like anyone else involved in drug smuggling, they will be tried and face long prison sentences if convicted. We take this problem very seriously here in Peru and courts are very strict about the enforcement of the law."

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