Drug-mule Briton may plead guilty for shorter sentence

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One of two British women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5m
out of Peru is prepared to plead guilty in exchange for a short sentence.

Scot Melissa Reid, 20, hopes a plea deal will see her get home to Glasgow as soon as possible.

Her deal could get her sentence cut from up to 25 years to just six years and eight months, with her family believing she could be released in three years.

The pair could be waiting up to three years before any trial gets under way.

In a telephone interview with the Mail on Sunday, Miss Reid, who is in the notorious Virgen de Fatima prison in the Peruvian capital, Lima, said she did not want to be in prison until she was 35.

“I am really scared about what I am about to do but I am also relieved that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “I’m now coming to terms with the fact I am so far away from my family. This is real.

“After a lot of thought and advice from my lawyer I am going to go in front of the judge and admit I was in possession of the drugs and that I went to Peru to pick up drugs to take to Spain – I am willing to plead guilty to that.

“I did it under duress, I still maintain that, and I am glad I do not have to say I accepted money to do it.”

Reid was stopped along with Michaella McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, with 24lb (11kg) of cocaine hidden in food packets in their luggage while checking-in to board a flight to Spain last month.

The pair claim they were forced to carry the drugs by an armed gang who threatened them and their family members.

They have 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 and then on to Peru, where they were accompanied by minders and forced to pretend to be on hoilday before being given the drugs to bring back.

CCTV footage which emerged after their arrest appears to show them accompanied by two minders as they loaded their luggage into a car outside the hotel.

Reid has claimed she was so scared their handlers had followed them to Lima airport they were “relieved” when police stopped them at the check-in desk.

Miss Reid’s father William had previously said he believes the pair should plead guilty in order
to get the legal process over
quickly.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “We are considering this as good
a result as we could have hoped for.

“It seems strange to be happy about the prospect of your 20-year-old daughter being sentenced to six years and eight months in jail, but we are delighted.

“Crucially, we could start pushing for her to be transferred to Scotland.”