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Peru cocaine mule case not over for young Brits

October 2, 2013

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The Peruvian prosecutor in charge of a drug case involving two British women arrested at Lima’s airport trying to smuggle cocaine to Spain says they will remain under investigation for six months if their guilty pleas are not accepted.

Prosecutor Juan Mendoza made the statement to The Associated Press after Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid, both 20, on Tuesday made a second appearance before a judge.

Mendoza would not enter into detail but suggested the women’s confessions had not yet satisfied prosecutors.

If the women are allowed to enter guilty pleas, they could serve up to six years and eight months without parole. If they go to trial, they face a minimum of eight years if convicted.

McCollum and Reid were arrested Aug. 6 with 24 pounds (11 kilos) of cocaine in their luggage. They initially claimed a gang of armed men coerced them into smuggling the drugs.

Mendoza refused to discuss whether the women had changed the story or explained how they got the cocaine or from whom.

The women’s Peruvian attorney, Meyer Fishman, has refused to talk to reporters. McCollum’s lawyer in Britain, Peter Madden, did not return a phone call and email seeking comment.

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