Peruvian police to hand over drug investigation

Monday 19 August 2013 22.57
1 of 4
Police in Peru are expected to hand the investigation to the state prosecutor's office
Police in Peru are expected to hand the investigation to the state prosecutor's office
Peter Madden hopes to discuss Michaella McCollum's case with police in Lima
Peter Madden hopes to discuss Michaella McCollum's case with police in Lima
Melissa Reid's father William leaves the police station where she is being held
Melissa Reid's father William leaves the police station where she is being held
Michaella McCollum (L) and Melissa Reid deny the charges
Michaella McCollum (L) and Melissa Reid deny the charges

Police in Peru are expected to hand their investigation into alleged drug smuggling by an Irish woman and a Scottish national to the state prosecutor's office.

The findings will form the basis of a pre-trial hearing that will determine what Michaella McCollum, 20, from Co Tyrone and 20-year-old Melissa Reid are to be charged with.

Ms McCollum's solicitor, Peter Madden, said he intends to discuss her case with police in Lima later.

He met the two women earlier and said: "At the moment, we don't know if she's going to be charged yet."

Mr Madden described some of the coverage of the case as "bizarre".

The women are accused of trying to smuggle 10.8kg of cocaine to Spain.

They were arrested last week while trying to board a flight from Lima to Madrid.

Police said they found the cocaine hidden inside food packages in their luggage.

Both women deny the allegations and claim they were forced to carry the bags by armed men.

Mr Madden has suggested that they were used as a possible decoy for a much larger shipment of drugs. 

They have yet to be formally charged, but could be held for up to 30 days before appearing in court.

If refused bail, they face up to three years in jail before a trial.

Security footage released from a Lima hotel apparently shows the women before they were arrested at the airport.

Both women had travelled separately to the Spanish island of Ibiza in search of work this summer.

Before news of the arrests broke, the family of Ms McCollum, a photography student and former nightclub hostess, had launched an internet campaign fearing she was missing.