‘Drugs mule must not profit from her crimes’ says Dungannon MLA

Michaella McCollum, 23, talking to RTE in Peru in April.
 Picture by Trevor Birney / RTE / Press Eye.
Michaella McCollum, 23, talking to RTE in Peru in April. Picture by Trevor Birney / RTE / Press Eye.

Politicians last night warned that convicted Dungannon drug mule Michaella McCollum must not profit from her notoriety after her return from a Peruvian jail.

Michaella McCollum returned to Dungannon late on Saturday night, where friends and family appeared to rally round the 23-year-old.

She was imprisoned in 2013 for almost seven years for trying to smuggle £1.5m of cocaine from Peru to Ibiza along with Scottish woman Melissa Reid.

Dungannon-based DUP MLA Lord Morrow said last night: “This is the return of a convicted criminal yet a great deal of the publicity which appears to surround her resembles that of a minor celebrity.

“The harm caused by the drugs she attempted to smuggle affects communities everywhere and that should not be forgotten.

“A question which remains is whether her return will be followed by attempts to remain in the public eye, or even to profit from the notoriety she achieved with her crimes. The focus should be on the victims of drug abuse in our society and not those who contributed to their harm.”

TUV leader Jim Allister added: “It is very important that this convicted criminal is not permitted to play the victim, nor to benefit from any resulting notoriety.

“She was convicted of very serious drugs offences, which must not be glamourised or sanitised.”

McCollum and Reid initially claimed they had been forced to carry the drugs but later admitted they hadn’t.