UK & World News

  • 6 August 2014, 14:22

Peru Drugs Mule To Be Transferred Back To UK

Peruvian authorities have granted drugs smuggler Michaella McCollum's request to be transferred to a prison in her native Northern Ireland.

McCollum, 20, from Dungannon in County Tyrone, pleaded guilty last December and was sentenced to six years and eight months.

She was detained at Lima airport, alongside Scottish woman Melissa Reid, when 1.8m of cocaine was found in their luggage.

At first, the pair claimed an armed gang had abducted them at gunpoint before ordering them to transport the drugs.

They later admitted that they had attempted to carry 11.5kg of cocaine, hidden in food packages, from Peru to Spain.

Prosector Juan Mendoza told Irish broadcaster RTE: "They changed their story around by 360 degrees.

"Without doubt, they accepted that neither they nor their families were ever threatened to force them to commit this crime."

In a signed statement last autumn, the so-called "Peru Two" not only confessed to their international drugs run but named members of the Colombian drug cartel behind the entire plot.

McCollum's Belfast-based solicitor Kevin Winters confirmed that authorities in Peru had accepted her formal request for transfer to Northern Ireland.

It has also been confirmed by the Northern Ireland Prison Service, although the process is expected to take several months.

In April, Melissa Reid's parents paid a ?4,200 civil fine so their daughter could request transfer to a Scottish prison.

Both had been detained at Lima's all-female Virgen de Fatima prison, but were moved to the more remote Ancon 2 jail earlier this year.