Irish Woman To Plead Guilty In Peru


The Irish woman arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru has said she will plead guilty when she appears in court today.

Tyrone native Michaella McCollum was arrested along with Scottish national Melissa Reid last month when they tried to board a flight from Lima to Madrid carrying a large haul of drugs.

McCollum and Reid claim they were forced to carry the drugs, which were concealed in food packages, by an armed gang who threatened their family members.

The Dungannon woman will now plead guilty in a bid to simplify the courts process.

She said: “I understand that the (judicial) process will be simpler if we both plead guilty.

“We are hoping that we will not have to wait too long before we are sentenced and pleading guilty will speed things up.”

Thew news comes a week after Peruvian counter narcotics prosecutor Luis Mendoza suggested both women could plead guilty and qualify for a lighter sentence, which could be served in their home country.

He said: “The British citizens agree to the position of the Public Ministry, if they continue with their strategy they can go to trial.

“However, they are able to qualify for an early termination, which means they probably could get a sentence of six to eight years maximum.

“It’s very possible that they may complete their sentence in the United Kingdom.

“There is an agreement in our country that those convicted can choose an early termination procedure, assuming their guilt and paying civil damages and agreeing to the judgement, meaning there is no kind of appeal.”

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