Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid, the two UK citizens accused of smuggling drugs, will appear in court on Sept. 17 to enter their pleas.
The young women were attempting to board a flight from Peru to Spain when they were caught at Lima’s Jorge Chavez airport with 11 kilograms of cocaine valued at £1.5 million in their luggage. They have since told press and investigators that they were forced to carry the drugs by gangsters who threatened to hurt them and their families. The two 20-year-olds are currently incarcerated at Lima’s Virgen de Fátima jail.
Melissa Reid’s mother, Debra Reid appeared on UK program This Morning to talk about the case. She told This Morning that she trusts her daughter’s story, saying “I do believe they were definitely coerced into it. They didn’t do it willingly.” Debra Reid acknowledged, however, that “They definitely did have drugs in their suitcases, that part they are guilty of, but I do believe they were coerced into it.”
Debra Reid reiterated statements made last week by her husband, William Reid saying that she hopes the duo pleads guilty. “If Melissa pleads guilty, we’ll get her home earlier,” she told This Morning. Scottish news site STV News reports that if the women are found guilty they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. If they plead guilty, sources expect their sentence to as short as 3 years. “It’s the best years of your life, from 20 to 35,” Reid said, lamenting the possibility of her daughter’s long-term imprisonment.
Reid also told the TV channel that both Melissa Reid and her co-accused Michaella McCollum had recently been treated for “severe swelling” caused by bug bites received in Virgen de Fátima. Melissa Reid’s mother hopes her daughter will plead guilty.