Two woman, Melissa Reid, 20, from Lenzie, Glasgow and, Michaella McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, UK, got caught for attempting to smuggle drugs out of Peru, worth $ 1.5 million of cocaine, 24 pounds in their luggage. The pair claim they were forced by a gang in Ibiza, and deny the claims made against them by Ibiza Police.
They were stopped, on Aug. 6, when they tried to board a flight from Lima airport to Madrid.
Alberto Arean Varela, First Sargent from the Guardia Civil anti-drug and crime police unit, in Ibiza, disagrees with the women’s assertions, alleging that he does not think they were forced into anything.
“Because, particularly when you go to South America, you need to pass several consuls so the first thing you [would] do is go to the passport consul and say ‘Listen, this is what is happening to me’, and the police will react – so I don’t think they were forced.”
The two woman said they could not run to the authorities, because they were threatened with the death of their families if they failed to comply . The Ibiza police argue that they had several opportunities to alert authorities.
At a University of Leicester, Dr Jennifer Fleetwood a criminology lectures, whom has done some research in the involvements of woman in drug trades, revealed that their experience appears not to be out of the ordinary.
Fleetwood maintains that drug smugglers are mostly male, whilst woman represent a much lower statistical number (around 20 percent); however, she claims this does not mean that their story is not plausible.
Melissa and Michaella, will be appearing in court next week in Lima, and could face a prison sentence if found guilty of drug smuggling.
Written By: Landi Bezuidenhout