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Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid on way to court Photo by: Google Images

Peru drug smugglers may face six month probe if guilty plea rejected

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Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid on way to court Photo by: Google Images

Tyrone native Michaela McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid from Scotland appeared in court in Peru on Tuesday, after their guilty pleas for drug smuggling were rejected last week.

McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, and Reid, 20, from Glasgow were arrested in August after 24lbs of cocaine was found in their luggage as they tried to board a flight from Lima to Madrid.

Last week the two women pleaded guilty to drug smuggling. They had hoped their admission would be enough to secure a shorter sentence, however it was later rejected.

On Tuesday prosecutors demanded more information from the women before accepting their pleas. The closed hearing was held to help the two women clarify their guilty pleas, the Telegraph reports.

If the women are allowed to enter guilty pleas, they could serve up to six years and eight months without parole.

If their guilty pleas are not accepted, the pair could face a six-month investigation, the Peruvian prosecutor in charge of their case has said.

Juan Mendoza made the comments after the two women appeared before a judge at Sarita Colonia del Callao jail, in Callao.

Juan Mendoza who took part in the closed hearing Tuesday told the AP the women "simply have got to shed light on the facts of their case, and others in the organization they worked with.

"Prosecutors do not believe that they alone took a plane from Spain to Peru, bought drugs and then tried to go back to Europe. They have got to give details about the members of the group they worked with," Mendoza stressed.

Mendoza refused to discuss whether the women had changed their story at Tuesday’s hearing.

The young women had initially claimed innocence, saying they had been coerced into smuggling by an international drug cartel after being kidnapped.

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