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Michaella McCollum (l) has reportedly caught a tropical disease in Peru’s Ancon 2 prison (r)
McCollum, 23, is half of the Peru Two duo who were caught trying to smuggle cocaine out of Lima airport in 2013. She admitted drug smuggling charges along with Melissa Reid, also 23, and has been locked up in a series of grim prisons since.
McCollum, of Dungannon, County Tyrone, is part way through a sentence of six years and eight months in the Ancon 2 prison near Lima.
The two, pictured leaving court after their sentences in 2013, are hoping to move to UK jails
She, along with Reid, from near Glasgow, was hoping to be transferred to a UK prison soon under new Peruvian laws. But, according to a report, McCollum has been struck down by an unspecified tropical disease.
A fellow inmate told the newspaper that McCollum is being treated in the hospital wing of the women’s prison.
McCollum and second drugs mule Melissa Reid are locked up in Ancon 2, pictured
The unnamed prisoner told the Irish Daily Star: “Michaella has been brought to the hospital in the prison. She has a tropical illness but we don’t know what it is.
“We really hope she is ok. This illness is pretty regular in here, especially with the foreigners.”
Ancon 2 houses around 200 foreign inmates, mostly drug convicts, along with Peruvian natives.
McCollum and Melissa Reid (r) are pictured during their arrest at Lima airport
The prison is said to have better hygiene than many overcrowded and crumbling Peruvian jails but still had cases of disease. McCollum insists that the smuggled drugs 25lbs of cocaine found in the lining of the pair’s suitcases were planted there by gang bosses who were taking advantage of her. The two had been living a party lifestyle on the Spanish island of Ibiza, and were flying back there when they were stopped at Lima airport.
But she and Reid pleaded guilty to knowingly smuggling the drugs, for which they were given the minimum sentence under Peruvian law. Had they fought the case and been found guilty they could have been locked up for 15 years. The two had hoped to be back in the UK to finish their sentences in British jails under a prisoner transfer deal.
But both inmates are still in the South American nation due to a bureaucratic hold-up.