Two British women charged in Peru with drug trafficking prepare to stand trial Monday (September 23) and could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted.

Michaella McCollum, of Dungannon in Northern Ireland, and Melissa Reid, from near Glasgow in Scotland, have been awaiting their trial at the Virgin de Fatima prison after they were arrested at Lima airport two weeks ago after 11 kg (24 lb) of cocaine worth 1.5 million pounds was found in their luggage, according to authorities.

The two were arrested August 22, 2013.

Monsenor Sean Walsh says he visits with the women on a weekly basis.

"They're being very brave. They know they're faced with a very serious situation. They're going to court tomorrow as you already know and I don't speak to them about their legal status or their pleas because that's not my job to discuss these matters," Monsenor Walsh said.

"Their parents cannot be here, unfortunately, but, in any case, we are in touch with them and we're all united in prayer."

The women, both 20, had spent the summer working in bars on Ibiza. They said they had been forced to become drug mules by an armed gang and travelled to Peru under duress.

Peruvian prosecutors pressed charges against the pair late on Tuesday and said the crime carried a maximum penalty of 15-18 years imprisonment.

"It should be noted that the prosecution has gathered sufficient evidence to suspect the alleged responsibility of both people," the ministry said in a statement.

McCollum's lawyer Peter Madden has told British media that both women would plead not guilty.

Presented by Adam Justice