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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 02:49 GMT
British woman in Peru drug arrest
Peru
A 20-year-old British woman has been arrested in Peru for allegedly carrying 4kg (8lb) of cocaine in her luggage.

Rachel Franklin was stopped as she was waiting to board a plane to Madrid, Spain, at Lima's Jorge Chavez airport on Sunday at 1700 local time (2200GMT).

Miss Franklin has not yet been charged, but if found guilty of drug smuggling she could face up to 15 years in jail.

The British Embassy said it was aware of the situation and a staff member has visited the Southampton woman.

Peru is the second largest producer of cocaine in the world.

Cocaine production

Drug smuggling is common, but most of the people intercepted are Latin Americans, not Europeans.

The country's cocaine production has risen in recent years, prompting growth in the presence of drug-trafficking cartels.

The investigating team said the woman had flown from Cusco on the same day and was intercepted before she began boarding for a flight to Madrid from where she was due to take a connecting flight to London.

Captain Juan Carlos Miranda, from the police anti-drug division who is heading the investigation, said Miss Franklin would not be formally charged until an initial 15-day investigation was completed.

He added Miss Franklin was being held at police headquarters during the 15-day investigation period.

Travelling alone

If formally charged, the Briton is likely to be held at the Santa Monica women's' prison in the Chorrillos district of the capital, Lima.

The investigating team said Miss Franklin, who was travelling alone, had arrived in Peru on 15 November and had travelled to the historic city of Cusco, Peru's most popular tourist destination.

It is not clear whether anyone else was involved in the alleged smuggling attempt.

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