Friday, September 20, 2013

A warning to others

When the story about the two young women arrested in Peru for drug smuggling broke, I felt very sorry for them but at the same time believed that they knew exactly what they were doing. Nobody would fall for the story that they flew from Ibiza to spend a few days in Peru just for the fun of it. I think it is likely that they were mislead by others who had gone before them that bringing cocaine from Peru back to Ibiza would be trouble free. 

It now seems that at least one of them, Melissa Reid, has decided to plead guilty in an attempt to expedite matters and reduce the prison sentence that she faces. She still claims that the girls were acting under duress but no longer states they had no idea what they were carrying or what was the purpose of the visit.

The prosecutor in Peru says that, if they plead guilty then they could be sentenced to prison within a month, otherwise the trial could last six months. And, in a report by the Daily Mail, Reid’s lawyer claimed that the girls would receive a sentence of six years and eight months if she pleads guilty but could be out in less than three years on parole. She might even stand a chance of serving her sentence in Britain. That prospect must have been tempting to Reid.

According to the prosecutor though, that is no longer the case. A new law that came into force two weeks after the arrest eliminates sentence reductions for people convicted of drug trafficking so it is six years and eight months in Peru minimum and possibly more if they were also found guilty of being paid for it.

It is a tough decision for the girls. On the face of it, their chances of persuading a judge that they are innocent are almost nil. Of course, the police would rather find the ring leaders than catch a couple of drug mules but that is a much tougher task. In the meantime, if they can make an example of these two girls, then that may at least dissuade others from following their paths.

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