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Lawyer: Gang forced women to carry drugs in Peru

Friday - 8/16/2013, 9:02pm  ET

William Reid, father of Melissa Reid, of Britain, arrives to the National Police anti-drug headquarters where his daughter and her travel companion Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, are being held after their detention in Lima, Peru, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

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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