Glasgow & West Scotland

Peru drug charge woman Melissa Reid 'to plead guilty'

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in court in Callao on 21 August 2013
Image caption Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid appeared in court in Peru last month

One of two women arrested in Peru on suspicion of drug smuggling is to plead guilty in exchange for a shorter sentence, it has been reported.

Melissa Reid, of Lenzie, near Glasgow, and Michaella McCollum, of Dungannon in Northern Ireland, were caught with £1.5m of cocaine at Lima Airport.

Both claim they were forced into carrying the drugs.

Ms Reid told the Mail on Sunday she hoped a plea deal would see her get home as soon as possible.

The newspaper said her deal could see her sentence cut from up to 25 years to six years and eight months.

Her family believes she could be released in three years, the paper said.

No-one at her family's home in Lenzie would comment on the report when approached by BBC Scotland on Sunday morning.

In a telephone interview Miss Reid, who is being held in Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima, was reported to have told the Mail on Sunday she did not want to be in prison until she was 35.

"I am really scared about what I am about to do but I am also relieved that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel," she was quoted as saying.

"I'm now coming to terms with the fact I am so far away from my family. This is real.

"After a lot of thought and advice from my lawyer I am going to go in front of the judge and admit I was in possession of the drugs and that I went to Peru to pick up drugs to take to Spain - I am willing to plead guilty to that."

She added: "I did it under duress, I still maintain that, and I am glad I do not have to say I accepted money to do it."

Working in Ibiza

Ms Reid was stopped, along with Ms McCollum, at Lima Airport last month as they attempted to board a flight to Spain.

Both were found to be carrying 24lb (11kg) of cocaine hidden in food packets.

The women have reportedly told the Peruvian authorities they were working in Ibiza and did not meet before they were both kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to travel to Majorca.

They have claimed they were then sent to Peru and forced to carry the drugs in their luggage.

Ms Reid's father William has previously said he believes the pair should plead guilty in order to get the legal process over as quickly as possible.

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