Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting MBS to 80360 or you can e-mail us Click here for details »
Peru drug suspects due in court
Two women who claim they were ordered at gunpoint by Colombian gangsters to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru are due to appear in court.
Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, from Northern Ireland and Scottish 19-year-old Melissa Reid, are expected to appear before prosecutors in Lima where they will be formally charged.
The pair, who deny drug trafficking allegations, were arrested while trying to board a flight from the Peruvian capital to Spain last week. The women claim they were forced to carry the bags and were unaware they contained narcotics.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper from their police holding cell in Lima they claimed to have been coerced into carrying the drugs by members of a violent drugs gang who put loaded guns to their heads.
Ms Reid insisted they were not smuggling for financial gain but to save their lives. She said: "We were given no option. If we didn't do as we were told we would be dead. We were not smuggling for money, we were smuggling for our lives. We have no doubt they would have killed us both without hesitation if we didn't do as we were told."
The women told the paper they were robbed of their passports and mobile phones and followed on board the flights from Spain to Peru. Once in South America they were ordered to carry the cocaine hidden inside food packets.
Ms Reid said the men had information on their families, who would be threatened if they failed to follow the gang's orders. She also revealed that the first time the women met was after being kidnapped and taken to the drugs cartel's safe house in Majorca.
Ms Reid, who marks her 20th birthday on Friday, was the first to be sent to Lima, on August 1. She was joined by photography student and former nightclub hostess Ms McCollum Connolly a day later. She said they were "coached" on what to say if they were stopped and told to claim they were "best friends" who were travelling together. Ms McCollum Connolly, who is also protesting her innocence, described the conditions in which they have been held as harsh.
The family are making arrangements to travel to Peru and are also arranging legal representation after the National Police of Peru said they found more than 24lb of cocaine - thought to be worth around £1.5 million - hidden in food in the luggage of the two women.
Ms Reid's father William told reporters at his home in Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, that the family are going through a "living nightmare" and have not slept since they found out what had happened.