Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly, both 20, appeared in court in Lima tonight to be told they were being charged with the 'promotion of drug trafficking'.
Following a one-hour hearing, the judge remanded the women in custody after refusing a bail application. He is expected to decide which jail to send the women to in the next 24 hours.
The pair looked glum and drawn as they were led away in handcuffs through the back of the court to a holding cell. At one point, Miss Connolly wiped a tear away from her eye.
But during the hearing, the judge reportedly asked the pair why they did not ask for help when they arrived at Lima airport, to which they replied they were threatened.
During the hearing they were told they could spend up to three years in prison awaiting trial.
McCollum's lawyer Peter Madden said they had effectively begun serving a prison sentence after they were refused bail.
'Their main concern at the minute is that they may be separated, sent to different prisons,' he said.
They are very concerned that might happen. They did not know each other before this started, they have now become best friends.'
They both face up to 15 years in prison if they are convicted of drug trafficking, according to prosecutors in Callao, near Lima.
Concerns were raised last night over the state of their mental health.
The pair looked harassed and terrified as they left a prosecutor’s office last night before the decision to charge them was announced.
The two could be transferred to a women’s prison called Ancon 2 around an hour’s drive north of Lima after a night in holding cells at a court in Callao.
Miss Connolly's lawyer, Peter Madden, who yesterday visited the women at the Palace of Justice, said he feared for their physical and mental health.