Smuggler Michaella admits drug taking

Published Sunday, 12 January 2014
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Imprisoned Dungannon woman Michaella McCollum has admitted taking drugs while in Ibiza, but maintains she was forced into the drug smuggling plot that was foiled at an airport in Peru last year.

Smuggler Michaella admits drug taking
Michaella McCollum arriving at court in Lima for sentencing in December. (© Getty)

Speaking to the Sunday Life, the 20-year-old insisted she was not a "coke head" during her time working and socialising in Ibiza.

McCollum worked in bars there but said drugs featured more at house parties.

"Everyone does it, I don't think I know anyone out there that didn't," she told the newspaper.

"It was normal to go straight from work to a party with people you maybe didn't even know because most of the people out there, like me, came over by themselves to work.

"Now I look back and think, 'how stupid was I?'"

She reiterated that it was at a house party where she met the 'Cockney', who was the middle man in a drug plot by a Columbian gang.

McCollum and Scottish woman Mellissa Reid, also 20, were arrested in August at Jorge Chavez Airport in Callao as they attempted to board a flight to Spain with 11kg of cocaine.

In December, following a plea bargain, they were both sentenced to six years and eight months in jail for attempting to smuggle the drugs worth £1.5m out of the South American country.

He told me if I was a ‘bad girl’ and didn’t do as they said, they (her brother and sister) would get hurt and that we would be punished.

Michaella McCollum

McCollum acknowledged that many people don't believe their story, but defended herself saying her family were threatened.

"It's easy for everyone to say you should have told someone, but if we had rang the police in that hotel and said, 'Oh hello, we have drugs here and we were forced to carry them', they would have just came to the hotel and arrested us. We were too scared.

"Looking back now I wish I had, but it's easy to look back and think that."

She added that she believed the plan for her and Reid may have been a set up.

"I know we were used," McCollum said. "I don't know if there was a bigger load coming in or something else, I just know we were used."

The Co Tyrone woman admitted finding the conditions at Virgen De Fatima Prison, where she and Reid are serving their time, hard to get used to. The pair share their cell with as many as 100 women.

She complained of getting stomach bugs from the drinking water and described the food as "awful".

"I would rather spend 90 years in a prison back home than spend another day here," she added.

"At least you could have a TV and proper food."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Paul in larne wrote (376 days ago):
worse criminals???? she peddled drugs which destroys lives, wether she's British or Irish is irrelevant, she deserves what she got
Uilliam in Liverpool wrote (376 days ago):
I totally believe this story, hang on a pig just flew past my window.
Chrossy in Ballymena wrote (377 days ago):
Worse thing is, shel be home soon enough to serve her sentence, pen a book and paln a movie all at out expense. Wewill be paying a fortune to keep her up in hydebank watchin tv while the rest of us wor all week to struggle. I do pity her family though, she has shamed them and they still have to defend her, while a few days later her story changes again!!!! A carear in politics awaits !!!
eyes open in Belfast wrote (377 days ago):
Bring her home! She was used and is now a victim of the nonsensical and unwinnable "war on drugs". Too many commenters here are very quick to judge, like they've never made a mistake. Wise up! Im sure theyd change their tune if it was one of their relatives.
Paddy Quinn in Belfast wrote (377 days ago):
@Bobby in Canada,more smart comments as per usual?
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