Photo: Willing Drug Mules?
Written by Contributor: Jonathan Stroshine
Perú is one of the cocaine-producing heavyweights of the world. The question is: did Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum become two more victims of the system? Or knowingly contribute to it?
Reid and McCollum, from Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively, were detained at a Lima airport August 6 after security discovered around 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage.
The twenty-year-olds have claimed that while working at clubs in San Antonio, Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain, they were apprehended by Colombian drug smugglers and forced to traffic drugs back to Spain.
A recent statement by a police chief in a BBC article casts doubt on that story, as First Sergeant Alberto Arean Varela said that foreigners have to pass through government checkpoints upon arriving in South America, at which point the pair could have revealed their story.
In addition Facebook pictures show Reid regularly partying in Ibiza and under no apparent duress. And according to the Daily Mail neighbors report that Reid was a hard partyer that “immersed herself in a lifestyle of drug-taking”.
“Sincerely, with my experience, I don’t think these girls were forced to do this,” Arean Varela told the BBC.
The girls were videotaped laughing and eating donuts after their arrest also casting doubt on their story of fear of Colombian drug lords.
Some drug smugglers force foreigners to carry drugs, or offer them money to do so, many times to distract from those carrying larger quantities of a drug on a flight.
The two are being detained in a police station in Perú. Reid celebrated her twentieth birthday behind bars and while facing a possible twenty-five year sentence.
The two could be in waiting for a while, perhaps even years before going on trial, according to the BBC.