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Scots drugs mule in Peru could be home ‘in weeks’

Michaella McCollum: Caught at Lima airport with cocaine. Picture: Getty

Michaella McCollum: Caught at Lima airport with cocaine. Picture: Getty

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO
 

SCOTTISH drugs mule Melissa Reid, jailed in Peru for her part in smuggling a £1.5 million haul of cocaine into the South American country, could be home within weeks, after applying to serve the rest of her sentence in the UK.

The Scottish Prison Service is considering a repatriation application from authorities in Lima for the 20-year-old, from Lenzie, near Glasgow.

Reid pleaded guilty to drug smuggling along with Michaella McCollum, also 20, from County Tyrone, in September last year. Both were jailed for six years and eight months.

The pair were working on the Spanish party island of Ibiza last summer when they claimed they were forced to board a flight with 24lb of cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage.

They were caught with the drugs at Lima airport on 6 August.

Reid’s father said he has met Scotland’s justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and is hopeful that his daughter will serve the rest of her sentence closer to home. It is understood that in most cases prisoner transfer ­applications are approved.

Billy Reid, 54, said: “I had a very positive meeting with Kenny MacAskill and he reassured me that Scotland has no issue [with] accepting Melissa back to serve her sentence here.

“We understand the Scottish Government can’t promise to magic her back home and they won’t pull any strings, but it was very comforting to hear that they are not against any move.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “We received a repatriation application from the Peruvian authorities.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said Mr MacAskill had recently met Melissa’s father to dicuss the matter.

She said: “The justice secretary had a private meeting with Mr Reid. Prisoner transfers are a matter for the Scottish Prison Service.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responsibility for UK citizens imprisoned abroad. We have been in touch with them regarding Melissa Reid and have asked to be kept informed of developments.”

If the application is accepted, Reid could be back in Scotland within two months.

She would be regarded as a “low-risk” prisoner in Scotland and would serve her time in a low-security wing, meaning she could qualify for home leave or early release while wearing an electronic tag.

The government in Peru wrote to the authorities in Scotland, seeking clearance for the switch.

The two young women are currently locked up together in Lima’s notorious Virgen de Fatima prison. They were jailed for eight years each, but the sentences were reduced because of their guilty pleas.

They are expected to remain in prison until 5 April, 2020.

At the time of their arrest, the women had reportedly told the Peruvian authorities they were working in Ibiza and were both kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to travel to Majorca.

They claimed they were then sent to Peru and forced to carry the drugs in their luggage.

However, after they admitted the offences in September 2013, their sentencing was delayed because prosecutors were not satisfied with the details of their confessions.

 

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