Peru Drug Pair Sentence

December 18, 2013 by  

Peru Drug Pair Sentence, A SCOTTISH drug trafficker and her Northern Irish friend who were caught trying to smuggle £1.5 million of cocaine out of Peru have been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.

Melissa Reid, from Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, and Michaella McCollum, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, were sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to drug smuggling in September. The pair, both 20, had faced up to 15 years in prison but struck a behind-closed-doors plea bargain to secure a shorter sentence.

They appeared briefly before Judge Pedro Miguel Puente Bardales. Judicial spokesman Daniel Vega said: “The women were very calm as the ­sentence was handed down at the court in the Sarita Colonia prison.

“They will now begin serving their sentence in the Santa Monica prison.”

But Mr Vega warned: “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.”

As at previous hearings, the women were kept handcuffed behind a metal cage. Judge Bardales read out the sentence at the end of the 20-minute private hearing. A court spokesman added: “They were not required to reiterate their guilty pleas as that was something they had done on a previous occasion.

“They have obviously renounced their right to appeal by agreeing to the sentence.”

They also agreed to pay 10,000 Peruvian soles – around £2,220 each – in compensation. The cash will have to be paid before there is any possibility of them being transferred to a UK jail or being allowed to return home having served out their sentences in Peru.

Last night, Reid and McCollum returned as convicts to a cell they have been sharing with nearly 40 other inmates at Santa Monica women’s prison, where they have been held since ­October.

From August until October, they were held at the nearby Virgen de Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima) prison, where they had shared a large cell together in what were said to be comparatively good conditions.

Both women, who had been working on the Spanish party island of Ibiza this summer, had previously claimed they were coerced into carrying the cocaine by Colombian drug lords who they said had kidnapped them at gunpoint.

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