Lawyer: Gang forced women to carry drugs in Peru

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Associated Press

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 17 at 2:04 AM

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The lawyer for a young Irish woman arrested in Peru for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine to Spain says she was forced to carry the drugs by a gang that threatened her and her family.

Attorney Peter Madden says Michaela McCollum was "kidnapped," held at gunpoint and forced to travel to Peru.

Madden told reporters the young Scottish woman, Melissa Reid, arrested with his client was similarly threatened by up to 14 men with guns. Madden said McCollum was not offered any money.

The women disappeared while working on the Spanish island of Ibiza. They claim they were robbed of passports and phones and followed as they traveled on separate flights to Peru.

Peruvian police said they were carrying 24 pounds of cocaine when arrested Aug. 6 at Lima's airport.

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