SIX YEARS IN JAIL FOR DRUG MULE MICHAELLA

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid formally pleaded guilty on Tuesday to  drug smuggling offences

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid formally pleaded guilty on Tuesday to drug smuggling offences

COCAINE drug mule Michaella McCollum Connolly faces over six years in jail after pleading guilty to drug trafficking offences in Peru.

The 20-year-old and her partner-in-crime Melissa Reid from Glasgow both pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle 11 kg of cocaine out of the country last month.

The pair appeared before a judge at a closed hearing in Lima on Tuesday night where they entered their guilty pleas.

They were caught with the £.15 million drug haul at Lima’s Jorges Chavez airport.

They claimed that they had been kidnapped by a 14-strong criminal gang at gunpoint and forced to take the drugs which had been concealed inside food bags.

The pair also told police that they were threatened and were warned if they didn’t carry the drugs their families would be harmed.

As a result of their guilty pleas, they will now be jailed for six years and eight months.

On Tuesday, the pair were transported by van under armed guard from the prison where they are being held to Callao prison where the hearing took place.

They were then returned to the women’s prison where they are being held to await their sentencing hearing on Tuesday, October 1.

A spokesman for the Peruvian court confirmed they had admitted the offences.

It is understood the pleas were made in exchange for a shorter sentence.

A court spokesman said: “They will automatically have a sixth off the minimum jail sentence of eight years and will be sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.”

McCollum Connolly, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone and Reid had been stopped at Lima airport as they attempted to board a flight to Spain.

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid arrested at airport for drug trafficking

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid arrested at airport for drug trafficking

The women had 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 claimed they were then sent to Peru and forced to carry the drugs in their luggage.

It has been suggested that the women may be able to serve part of their sentence in a UK prison.

The Foreign Office in London said a prisoner transfer agreement between the UK and Peru does exist.

The Ministry of Justice added that the country receiving the prisoner would pay the cost of them serving their sentence.

Prisoners who want to serve their sentence in either Northern Ireland or Scotland have to apply to the prison service for their part of the UK.

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesman said McCollum would need to make representation initially to the Peruvian authorities.

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