Peru drug mule Michaella McCollum to be transferred to Northern Ireland prison

McCollum and Melissa Reid were sentenced to over six years in prison for attempting smuggle cocaine into Spain

Michaella McCollum, the Irish national who was convicted of drug smuggling last year, is to be transferred from a prison in Peru to a facility in Northern Ireland, Irish officials have confirmed.

But the logistics of the transfer could mean it is months before the 21-year old is moved, her solicitor has said. 

McCollum’s accomplice, Melissa Reid from Scotland, is still waiting for South American authorities to agree to move her back to the UK.

A solicitor has described the conditions of the Peruvian prison the pair are incarcerated in as horrendous.

McCollum, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and 20-year-old Reid, from Glasgow, admitted to smuggling drugs after they were caught carrying a £1.5 million haul of cocaine on a flight from Peru to Spain on 6 August last year.

Prior to their guilty plea, the women - who were working on the Spanish island of Ibiza - claimed Colombian drug lords had kidnapped them at gunpoint forced and them to board a flight with 24lb of cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage.

McCollum and Reid faced the prospect of a maximum 15-year prison term, but were able to secure shorter sentences.

Briton Melissa Reid, 19, who was arrested at Lima's airport carrying cocaine in their luggage, arrives at the Callao courtroom on December 17, 2013. Briton Melissa Reid, 19, who was arrested at Lima's airport carrying cocaine in their luggage, arrives at the Callao courtroom on December 17, 2013. A letter from the Irish Republic's department of foreign affairs which confirmed McCollum’s move said: "The Peruvian authorities have confirmed that they have accepted Michaella's prison transfer request and have passed this to the UK National Offenders' Management Service (Noms) which co-ordinates prisoner transfers to the UK.

"In Ms McCollum's case, Noms liaises with the Northern Ireland Prison Service and with the Peruvian Prison Service on all aspects of the transfer."

During transfers, prisoners must be accompanied throughout their journey, and airlines and airports must be advised to enable them to put security arrangements in place at departure, transit and final stops. The 21-year-old’s is likely to be taken to Ash House Women's Prison at Hydebank Wood in south Belfast.

Video: Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid questioned in 2013

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesman said: "We don't normally comment on individual cases. All transfer requests are however dealt with as expeditiously as possible."

The women had previously been held at Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima, but were moved to the Ancon 2 prison, where McCollum is reportedly McCollum in a cramped cell with 30 other prisoners.

The situation at the mixed prison has previously been criticised by the Irishwoman's lawyer as "appalling.

Kevin Winters said sanitation and toilet facilities are extremely poor and all females have to use a hole in the ground which has to be covered up because of the presence of vermin.

Additional reporting by  PA

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin