Belfast Telegraph

Peru 'drugs mules' Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid home for Christmas if they shop gang

Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly

By Cate McCurry

Drugs mule Michaella McCollum Connolly could be spending Christmas at home if she helps bring the gang that sent her and co-accused Melissa Reid to Peru to justice.

The pair, both 20, have been told they could be released from custody in less than two months if they agree to help Peruvian authorities find and jail the criminal gang behind the £1.5m cocaine pick-up.

The huge revelation comes just days ahead of a crucial court hearing at which Dungannon woman McCollum and Reid, from Lenzie in Scotland, will be asked to give more information about their trip from Ibiza to Peru in August.

"There is a possibility these two women can be out of prison in around two months and never have to go back to jail," said Chief prosecutor Juan Mendoza Abarca.

"But they have to give us all the information they have – names, addresses, contact details and so on, so we can bring the drugs gang here in Peru and abroad to justice.

"The women hold their own future in their hands. They have the option of collaborating with state prosecutors, helping us bring down this criminal organisation and tasting freedom again very quickly, or saying nothing and going to jail for a very long time."

After weeks of protesting their innocence, McCollum and Reid finally admitted to drug smuggling at a hearing last Tuesday.

The pair were hoping their admissions would mean they would receive reduced jail sentences of six years. However, sceptical prosecutors said this can only happen if they inform on the gang they say forced them to traffick cocaine.

Meanwhile, a former boyfriend of McCollum's has claimed she repeatedly rejected offers of drugs in Ibiza. DJ Brad Houston, who had a five-day fling with Michaella in Ibiza shortly before her arrest, said he believed her story.

"She was in Ibiza, one of the most fun places in the world; she's young, good looking having the time of her life. Why would you risk your life to go do a drug deal? She never struggled for any money," he told the Sunday Life.

He also said they had been offered drugs maybe ten to 15 times a day – but she had always refused them.

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"We believe Melissa and Michaella have the information we need to identify and capture the criminals behind them. There will be people in Peru, Spain and possibly the UK they were involved with that are still operating."

- Prosecutor Juan Mendoza Abarca

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