CHAIN SMOKING AND DENYING FOOD, GIRLS HELD IN SQUALID CONDITIONS OVER IN £1.5M COCAINE BUST

Michaella McCollum Connolly (left) and Melissa Reid held at an airport in Peru

Michaella McCollum Connolly (left) and Melissa Reid held at an airport in Peru

A DANCER from Northern Ireland and a Glasgow friend are being held in appalling conditions in a Peruvian jail over a £1.5 million cocaine seizure.

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid have refusing food for a week following their arrest at an airport on Tuesday, August 6.

They deny drug smuggling claims levelled against them.

Since then they have been chain smoking and held in cramped conditions in prison while police investigate their case.

Police suspect they have may have been forced to work as ‘mules’ by a cartel to smuggle the drugs out of Peru and back to Spain.

Overnight, footage emerged of two women when they were first detained in Peru on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Michaella McCollum, 20, from Dungannon and Melissa Reid, 19, from Scotland, were arrested trying to board a flight to Madrid a week ago.

Police claim they found £1.5m worth of cocaine in their luggage.

In the footage, Ms McCollum is heard confirming her nationality as Irish and detailing travel arrangements.

Ms Reid can be heard telling police she was forced to carry the bags.

The video, from airport authorities, shows police searching food packets and containers.

Ms Reid is asked if she knew drugs were being carried in the bags and she said she did not.

Ms Connolly, who had moved to Ibiza from Belfast, was reported missing last week.

Her family had not heard from her for several days.

A statement on Peru’s National Police Force website said the cocaine had been hidden inside packages of food.

Belfast dancer Michaella McCollum Connolly and pal caught with £1,5 million cocaine haul

Belfast dancer Michaella McCollum Connolly and pal caught with £1,5 million cocaine haul

The two women were stopped as they tried to pass through the Air Europa counter at Jorge Chavez airport in Lima.

Ms Connolly, a photography student in Belfast, had gone to the Ibizan town of San Antonio in June to look for work as a dancer or a nightclub hostess.

After hearing nothing from her for 12 days, her family appealed on Facebook and other social media websites for any information of her whereabouts.

Ms Connolly holds an Irish passport. Ms Reid is from Lenzie near Glasgow. Both women have been visited by officials from the British embassy.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has also confirmed it is providing consular assistance to Ms Connolly’s family.

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