Skip to main content

Two women get nearly 7 years for Peru drug smuggling

By CNN Staff
updated 9:37 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
Michaella McCollum (pictured) and Melissa Reid arrive at the Callao courtroom in Peru on December 17.
Michaella McCollum (pictured) and Melissa Reid arrive at the Callao courtroom in Peru on December 17.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The women are sentenced to six years and eights months in prison
  • They pleaded guilty to the charges after first saying that they were coerced
  • The women were arrested as they tried to board a flight carrying 25 pounds of cocaine

(CNN) -- A Peruvian court has sentenced an Irish woman and a Scottish woman accused of trying to smuggle some 25 pounds of cocaine from Peru to Europe to six years and eight months in prison.

Michaella McCollum, from Ireland, was arrested alongside Melissa Reid, from Scotland, by Peruvian national police at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima on August 6. McCollum was 20 at the time; Reid was 19.

They were stopped as they tried to board an Air Europa flight from Lima to Madrid after authorities found cocaine in their luggage, hidden inside food packets. Their final destination was Palma de Mallorca in Spain.

When they were arrested, the two women told police they had been coerced into carrying the cocaine. They later reversed course and pleaded guilty to the charges.

The pair said they regretted their actions and have cooperated with investigators by elaborating on their role and the contacts who coordinated the smuggling attempt, read a statement from the court handling the case.

There is a prisoner-transfer agreement between Peru and the United Kingdom, which means that individuals can apply to serve their sentence back in their home country, a UK Foreign Office spokesman said.

Peru is the world's top cultivator of coca, the plant whose leaves are used to produce cocaine. It overtook Colombia for the dubious honor.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark, Rafael Romo, Claudia Rebaza, and journalists Peter Taggart and Maria Elena Belaunde contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Lionel Messi's ability is not in question -- but will the World Cup final allow him to emerge from another footballing legend's shadow?
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
updated 3:32 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
updated 6:49 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Ravi Agrawal asks whether Narendra Modi can harness the country's potential to finally deliver growth.
updated 12:44 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
ADVERTISEMENT