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Peru drug arrests: Michaella McCollum Connolly may face six-month inquiry

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PROSECUTORS have said that Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid may face a six-month investigation if their guilty pleas are not accepted.

McCollum Connolly (20) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and Reid (20) from Glasgow, pleaded guilty last Tuesday and admitted smuggling £1.5 million worth of cocaine.

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The confessions have not yet satisfied prosecutors, according to prosecutor Juan Mendoza, who made the comments after the women appeared for a second time before a judge at a private hearing on Tuesday.

By admitting their guilt last week the pair had hoped that their sentences would be reduced from a potential 15 year prison sentence to six years and eight months.

But prosecutors had rejected the pair’s guilty pleas and said that they needed to provide more information to get reduced sentences.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Mr Mendoza would not discuss whether the women had explained to them how they got possession of the cocaine, or who it was from.

He did suggest that the prosecutors were not yet satisfied with the women’s confessions.

Both women were stopped before boarding a flight from Lima to Madrid in August, when Peruvian police say they discovered 24lb (11kg) of cocaine hidden in food packages in their baggage.

The pair reportedly told the Peruvian authorities they were working in Ibiza and only met after being kidnapped at gunpoint before being forced to carry the drugs to Peru.

There is a possibility that the pair may be transferred to a minimum security prison, Ancón 2, which lies one hour north of Lima.

It is one of the most modern in Peru and its 1,600 prisoners have the opportunity to study pre or post university courses or participate in a variety of workshops including cookery and hairdressing.

Ancón 2 houses the highest number of foreign female inmates in the country.

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