Peru drugs mule waits on Scottish prison transfer decision

Michaella McCollum (left)  and Scot Melissa Reid. Picture: Getty
Michaella McCollum (left) and Scot Melissa Reid. Picture: Getty
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Drugs mule Melissa Reid was last night waiting to hear if she will be transferred to a Scottish prison as it emerged her accomplice had been released on parole from their Peruvian jail.

Michaela McCollum, 23, from Dungannon in County Tyrone, was freed on Thursday after a successful application, her lawyer said.

However, Reid, 23, from Lenzie in East Dunbartonshire, remains behind bars.

The pair were jailed for six years and eight months in 2013 after admitting trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million from Peru to Spain.

They were caught with the 11kg haul at Lima Airport and claimed they were forced into carrying the drugs, but later pleaded guilty to the charges.

The Scottish Prison Service said it completed paperwork that was sent to Peru two years ago as part of Reid’s application to be moved to a Scottish jail. A spokesman said ministers had agreed to the move. He said: “The ball is now in the court of the Peruvians to agree to have her transferred.”

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A family friend said: “No news for Melissa yet, but hopefully soon. Melissa is applying for expulsion, that’s what we’re hoping for. She just wants to keep her head down and get on with her life.”

Peru’s Prison Service confirmed McCollum had been released from the Ancon 2 jail, north of Lima, and Reid was still being held.

A spokeswoman said: “Michaela left the prison as part of a supervised release on parole. It’s called semi libertad in Peru.

“If she complies with all the conditions [attached to that release] then she won’t have to go back to prison and the process for her of completing her sentence will continue here in Peru.

“The other woman didn’t leave jail because she is seeking a prison transfer to her home country.”

The pair had previously been held at Lima’s Virgen de Fatima prison, but were moved to Ancon 2, where horrific conditions reportedly had McCollum crammed into a cell with 30 other prisoners, with extremely poor sanitation and toilet facilities.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We continue to provide consular assistance to Melissa Reid. We remain in contact with her family and with the local authorities.”

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