Skip to main content

Two women get nearly 7 years for Peru drug smuggling

By CNN Staff
December 18, 2013 -- Updated 0237 GMT (1037 HKT)
Michaella McCollum (pictured) and Melissa Reid arrive at the Callao courtroom in Peru on December 17.
Michaella McCollum (pictured) and Melissa Reid arrive at the Callao courtroom in Peru on December 17.
  • The women are sentenced to six years and eights months in prison
  • They pleaded guilty to the charges after first saying that they were coerced
  • The women were arrested as they tried to board a flight carrying 25 pounds of cocaine

(CNN) -- A Peruvian court has sentenced an Irish woman and a Scottish woman accused of trying to smuggle some 25 pounds of cocaine from Peru to Europe to six years and eight months in prison.

Michaella McCollum, from Ireland, was arrested alongside Melissa Reid, from Scotland, by Peruvian national police at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima on August 6. McCollum was 20 at the time; Reid was 19.

They were stopped as they tried to board an Air Europa flight from Lima to Madrid after authorities found cocaine in their luggage, hidden inside food packets. Their final destination was Palma de Mallorca in Spain.

When they were arrested, the two women told police they had been coerced into carrying the cocaine. They later reversed course and pleaded guilty to the charges.

The pair said they regretted their actions and have cooperated with investigators by elaborating on their role and the contacts who coordinated the smuggling attempt, read a statement from the court handling the case.

There is a prisoner-transfer agreement between Peru and the United Kingdom, which means that individuals can apply to serve their sentence back in their home country, a UK Foreign Office spokesman said.

Peru is the world's top cultivator of coca, the plant whose leaves are used to produce cocaine. It overtook Colombia for the dubious honor.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark, Rafael Romo, Claudia Rebaza, and journalists Peter Taggart and Maria Elena Belaunde contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0434 GMT (1234 HKT)
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0317 GMT (1117 HKT)
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.