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‘Ringing my mum to tell her I was in jail was worst phone call ever' – drug mule Michaella McCollum

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Michaella McCollum from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, who was jailed in Peru in 2013 after she and another girl tried to smuggle cocaine out of the south American country pictured in Portadown. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Michaella McCollum from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, who was jailed in Peru in 2013 after she and another girl tried to smuggle cocaine out of the south American country pictured in Portadown. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Michaella McCollum from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, who was jailed in Peru in 2013 after she and another girl tried to smuggle cocaine out of the south American country pictured in Portadown. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Drug mule Michaella McCollum will be seen on TV breaking down in tears when she describes how her mother collapsed and had to be hospitalised after Michaella rang her from Peru and told her she was locked up in jail.

Michaella was up to then reported missing by her frantic family, having disappeared for over 10 days from her workplace in Ibiza.

The Tyrone woman was arrested along with Scottish woman Melissa Reid, after being arrested at Lima Airport in Peru in August 2013 and sent to jail.

The pair, dubbed the Peru Two, had been caught trying to smuggle a suitcase full of 11kg of cocaine worth nearly €2 million on to a flight to Spain.

"It was the worst phone call ever," Michaella, from Aughnacloy near Dungannon, admits.

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“I said, 'It's Michaella'. Then she's screaming and everybody's screaming."

She breaks down in tears in the BBC series High: Confession of a Drugs Mule, when she describes having to tell her mother where she was.

"So, then my mum says, 'I thought you were dead'. "I was like 'How am I going to tell her where I am?' Then I get around to tell her 'I'm in Peru, I'm in jail'. And she was like 'what, what?'"

The phone line then went dead.

"My brother told me later that she just went unconscious... She was just so overwhelmed and the anxiety and stress, she kind of passed out. I think she was just completely heartbroken."

Michaella had initially travelled to Ibiza at the age of 19 on holiday and decided to stay on and got a job in a bar.

While there she met a handsome stranger called Davey, who got her involved with a gang led by a man named Mateo, who groomed her for several weeks and persuaded her while she was off her head on acid at a party to collect drugs from Spain.

She recollects the amount of money they were offering was £5,000. She met Reid in Peru and they were given a consignment of cocaine to smuggle through the airport.

Experts now believe that they were set up by cartel bosses as a ruse to allow others smuggle through more drugs through the airport and as a fop to police.

Michaela confessed her involvement and was given a sentence of six years and eight months in the notorious Ancon II maximum security prison, where she witnessed scenes of lesbian sex and violence.

She was then released in 2016, after nearly three years in prison. Back home she helped Melissa get free and she is now the proud mother of twins.

"I made a dreadful mistake, but what prison taught me made me who I am today - and that's a better person than I would have been otherwise," she stresses.

High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule is on BBC1 over five nights from tomorrow until Thursday, and on the BBC3 Player.


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