The Archbishop of Lima, Sean Walsh, has spoke out to defend the two women being held on drug smuggling charges, saying he believes the pair have been "set up." Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said both women were weepy and upset when he visited them:
My personal feeling with these girls? They really and truly have been set up.
They are embarrassed at how everything has affected their families back home. They are devastated by that but I assured them they need to stay strong.
His comments were echoed by the former Irish consul Michael Russell, who is due to visit the women today. He said it was possible the young women were being used as a decoy to enable an even larger shipment of drugs to travel. Speaking to the Irish Independent he said:
As soon as they got into the airport, they were arrested. It could have been the case that the main drug dealer described the people to the police in the airport.
Melissa Reid and Michaela McCollum appeared in court in Lima, but it is unclear whether they have been charged, their lawyer said.
Two women accused of smuggling 12kg of cocaine into Peru could face up to three years in custody and a maximum of 25 years in prison.
A British woman accused of drug trafficking in Peru said she and her friend "were not smuggling for money, we were smuggling for our lives."