UK & World News
Peru Drugs: Pair Set To Face Smuggling Charge
Two women accused of smuggling £1.5m worth of cocaine out of Peru are expected to be charged later.
They have been pictured handcuffed and being driven away for a court appearance.
Michaella McCollum, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, and Melissa Reid, from Lenzie near Glasgow, have spent the past two weeks in police custody.
The pair, both 20, were arrested earlier this month while trying to board a flight from Lima to Madrid.
Police said they found around 11kg of cocaine hidden inside food packages in their luggage.
Anti-drug officers say they have concluded their investigation into the case, which will now go before the public prosecutor's office.
The contents of that report will form the basis of any charges against the pair.
Ms McCollum and Ms Reid both deny the allegations and say they were forced to carry the drugs by a gang of Colombian drug traffickers who said they would hurt the women's families if they did not go through with the plan.
If charged, it is thought unlikely the pair would be granted bail because of the severity of the charges.
The women would instead be moved to a prison where it is believed they would be separated until a trial - which could take many months to be heard.
The pair's court hearing comes just a day after CCTV footage emerged which senior police officers claim shows Ms McCollum in the Peruvian capital on August 5 walking around freely - despite the women saying they were held at gunpoint on that day.
The police say the CCTV will form the basis of their case when it goes before the district prosecutor.
However, the lawyer acting for Ms McCollum, who is also known as Michaella McCollum Connolly, denied she was captured on the footage and sought to dispel newspaper reports he said were erroneous.
Peter Madden said: "She was not out shopping in Lima and spending a lot of money, that didn't happen."
"Michaella (McCollum) Connolly did not owe any money to any drugs dealer, she was not and is not involved in the drugs trade, she has no criminal record, she has never been in trouble with the police in her life."
William Reid, the father of her co-accused, also responded following the emergence of photographs that allegedly show them posing on a balcony and on a beach with glasses of beer days before they were arrested at Lima airport.
Mr Reid, who is in Lima, said: "I believe the trip to the beach was part of a set-up that they asked them to smile to build up a portrayal of them as happy holidaymakers.
"I can only go by what I have been firmly told by the girls. The two girls' stories are very tight, very consistent, with a lot of detail and they seem to be telling the truth, as far as I can gauge."