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Court presses Peru two for details of gang members

Last week a prosecutor said they would need to give a fuller confession if they expected to have their sentences reduced.

Mellissa Reid, left, and Michaella McCollum Connolloy arriving at court yesterday.
Mellissa Reid, left, and Michaella McCollum Connolloy arriving at court yesterday.
Image: Martin Mejia/AP/PA

A PERUVIAN COURT has again pressed Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid for a fuller confession of guilt yesterday, after a prosecutor refused to accept their plea last week.

The two women pleaded guilty last week to attempting to smuggle just over 11  kilograms of cocaine out of Peru. Initially, they had denied guilt, claiming they had been coerced into smuggling by a shady international cartel after being kidnapped.

But they later changed their story stating they “knew they were going to transport drugs, and that they regret having participated in such an act,” according to a court press release.

Prosecutor Juan Rosas had told AFP last week the pair would need to give a fuller confession if they wanted to see their likely prison sentences reduced from eight years to six years and eight months.

So Monday, the women were back in court in the port city of Callao next to Lima, with a broader statement on their guilt before Judge Pedro Puente Bardales. It was not immediately clear how the court would receive their new statement.

But Callao prosecutor Juan Mendoza who took part in the closed hearing yesterday said 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.

Both were arrested on 6 August  at the international airport in Lima, when 5.7 kilograms of cocaine were found in Connolly’s luggage and 5.8 kilograms in Reid’s.

They were trying to board a plane for Spain, where they had been working on the party island of Ibiza.

- © AFP 2013 with additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

Read: Prosecutor rejects Peru two guilty plea>

Related: Michaella McCollum Connolly pleads guilty to drug offences in Peru>

Read: Peru pair face sentences of six years and 8 months>

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