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Michaela McCollum and Melissa Reid plead guilty to drug smuggling charges in Peru

British and Irish citizen both made pleas in hopes of receiving more lenient sentences

Two women have pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru.

Sources inside the capital said Michaella McCollum, of Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland and Melissa Reid, near Glasgow, made the plea when they appeared before a judge in the port town of Callao, near the capital Lima.

It is understood that the women, both 20, claimed full responsibility for the drug trafficking.

They were apprehended last month by police and sniffer dogs at Lima airport, where 11kg of Cocaine worth £1.5m was found in their luggage disguised as food.

A court official in Callao said: “They will automatically have a sixth off from the minimum jail sentence of eight years and will be sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.

”The official sentencing will take place on October 1 at a new hearing.“

Speaking outside the court in Lima, the pair's lawyer Meyer Fishman said he could not comment until the young women were sentenced.

Both women, who had been working on the Spanish party island of Ibiza this summer, previously claimed they were coerced into carrying the drugs by Colombian drug lords who kidnapped them at gunpoint.

Since their arrest on 6 August, they have been detained at the notorious Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima. Court officials now suggest that they may be transferred to the Santa Monica women's jail.

Their guilty pleas came on the same day that the UN declared that Peru has now overtaken Colombia as the world's number one coca leaf producer.

In Peru, sentences below seven years entitle offenders to a potentially reduced term. Last week, however, prosecutors warned that the two women may face six years without parole, even after pleading guilty.

Peru has more foreigners - 1,648 - in jail for drug trafficking offences than any other South American country.

A sentence is expected on 1 October.