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Friday 9 December 2016

Michaella boasts about being prison's 'top dog' and her 500 love letters

Michaella McCollum has spoken about her time in jail
Michaella McCollum has spoken about her time in jail

Convicted drug mule Michaella McCollum has boasted about becoming 'top dog' in the Peruvian prison where she spent over two years for cocaine trafficking.

The Co Tyrone native returned to Ireland over a week ago for the first time in three years.

She was arrested in August 2013 along with Scottish national Melissa Reid in possession of €1.7m worth of cocaine as they tried to board a plane at Lima airport.

McCollum (23) has now opened up about her time in Peru's notorious Ancon 2 prison, and revealed how she went from being bullied at the jail to becoming 'top dog'.

The drugs mule also described how she managed to pay other inmates to do her cleaning duties, and ran a successful beauty salon earning the equivalent of €250-a-week.

"Because it's so dirty, I mean, even the bathroom, you wouldn't even touch it. You're literally cleaning your own c**p," she said.

Before her release, she spent the equivalent of a further €100 bribing a prison guard to get her a mobile phone.

For six months McCollum was given significant control in prison, being voted 'general coordinator' and being put in charge of the phone, television and shopping budget.

Despite the seemingly relative glamorous lifestyle she was living, diary extracts reveal a darker side to her time behind bars.

In one entry she revealed how unbearable the heat was in prison and detailed the insect problem which prevented her sleeping through the night.

"I have lots of [visitors] at night, mosquitoes, flies and some other form of insect but they come in forces, 10-plus at a time attacking you, crawling all over your skin."

Sabotage

During her prison stint, she also received almost 500 love letters.

McCollum also claimed her psychologist in the prison, Marco, attempted to sabotage her chances of being released after she rebutted his romantic advances.

"He once told me we could live happily ever after. He tried to propose. Once I rejected him, he sent letters to the court saying I was the head of a drug mafia. He told me I would never see the light of day."

She explained how she became involved in the trafficking operation out of "stupidity".

"I did it because I wasn't thinking straight; it was totally out of character. I did it for being stupid.

"If I wasn't under the influence of drugs I would never have done it. I know that had a big influence but I can't blame it on that," she said.

"Obviously you get an adrenalin high because you're doing something you know you shouldn't be doing."

McCollum was released from prison in Peru on March 31 after spending less than three years behind bars with Melissa Reid.

She had been ordered to spend the next six years of her sentence on parole in the city.

But after reports that McCollum made a secret deal with Peruvian authorities recently, she was given permission to fly back to Northern Ireland.

In June, McCollum was criticised after being pictured living it up in the capital Lima with fellow cocaine smuggler Kaouthar Essafi, who she befriended in prison.

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