Friday 28 October 2016

McCollum is near neighbour of the dealer who gave her €2m cocaine

Michaella McCollum, seen in last week’s TV interview on RTE, is living very close to drug
dealer ‘Uncle Charlie’
Michaella McCollum, seen in last week’s TV interview on RTE, is living very close to drug dealer ‘Uncle Charlie’

A notorious Peruvian drug dealer nicknamed Uncle Charlie supplied Michaella Mc- Collum with the almost €2m worth of cocaine that resulted in her being thrown into jail.

Now the Herald can exclusively reveal that the 23-year-old is living only a few streets from him in Lima's affluent Miraflores neighbourhood.

McCollum, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is staying in a rental property there after being released last week from prison.

She must remain in Peru as part of her early release conditions.

Uncle Charlie is said to be the go-to man for drug mules in Lima.


"He is very, very famous here in Peru, without a doubt. He is well-known on the drugs scene," a source said.

The dealer has strong links with Mexico's deadly Sinaloa cartel which controls the Peruvian drugs trade.

Cocaine is often referred to as Charlie, which is how McCollum's near neighbour got his nickname.

In 2013, she and her Scottish friend Melissa Reid visited Uncle Charlie's apartment and collected the cocaine. After her arrest, she identified him to authorities.

The former photography student was spotted on CCTV visiting his apartment in Miraflores with Reid.

"They had no choice but to identify him, they were caught red-handed on CCTV," the source said.

"He is not a very nice guy, that is for sure, but Michaella doesn't seem to mind too much - she's living in Miraflores now, not far from him."

Uncle Charlie supplied McCollum with 5.8kg of cocaine cut with starch and hidden in 16 food packets. Reid (22) was given 18 packets containing 5.7kg of the drug.

Former dancer McCollum was freed on early release under new legislation that was introduced last year.

In a concession not previously offered to drug mules, the two young women were allowed to work or study in exchange for days off their sentences of six years and eight months.

A judicial process will now determine what, if any, conditions are attached to Mc- Collum's parole.

The only current stipulation is that she must sign on at a courthouse in Lima once a month.

Last night, she was spotted out socialising with her mother and some friends in a busy coffee shop.

She could be seen texting on a smartphone while talking to Peruvian pals.

Clutching a designer handbag and dressed in skinny black jeans and a black top, she looked polished in make-up and ruby red lipstick.


The Herald revealed yesterday that McCollum has already paid the €2,500 she owed to prison authorities for her bed and board in the Ancon Dos prison.

Under Peruvian law, convicted prisoners must pay towards the costs of their incarceration, which usually amounts to around €3,500.

Although not due for payment until the end of their sentences, both McCollum and Reid paid up last May.

Reid, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, is still in Ancon Dos as she has petitioned for a transfer to Scotland, where she will serve the rest of her sentence, rather than take advantage of parole in Peru.

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