UK women in Peru drug smuggling plot plead guilty (VIDEO)


Melissa Reid (C), a British woman arrested on August 6, 2013 at Lima's airport carrying cocaine in her luggage is escorted out of the Callao prosecutors building on August 20, 2013, to be taken to the district court with her companion Michaella McCollum, 20, (background)..



UK nationals Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum have given up their six-week attempt to prove their innocence, after they were accused of attempting to smuggle 24 pounds of cocaine out of Peru. 

The two women, who had been working on the Spanish island of Ibiza, were attempting to board a flight from Lima to Spain when they were caught with the drugs on their person on Aug. 6. They both fervently proclaimed their innocence.

Now, Scottish-born Reid and Northern Irish McCollum — both 20 years old — have changed course, admitting their guilt in a private hearing at a Lima men's jail, apparently after receiving advice from their lawyer, according to The Irish Independent. 

"I understand that the (judicial) process will be simpler if we both plead guilty," said McCollum to the Independent on Tuesday. 

"We are hoping that we will not have to wait too long before we are sentenced and pleading guilty will speed things up," she added.

It's likely they will both be sentenced to a minimum of six years and eight months in jail at a new hearing, scheduled for Oct. 1, according to the Associated Press, and there is no chance they will be permitted to serve out their sentence in their home countries.

The women had initially claimed they were threatened into carrying the drugs, although investigation hasn't found truth to these claims, said the BBC.

More than 140 drug "mules" have been arrested at the Lima airport so far this year.