Drug smuggler Michaella McCollum Connolly has been moved from Peru’s all-female Virgen de Fatima jail to the notorious Ancon 2 prison facility.
In December, McCollum Connolly from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and Melissa Reid from Lenzie, near Glasgow, were each jailed for six years and eight months after they attempted to smuggle £1.5m worth of cocaine out of Peru in their suitcases.
The women, both aged 20, had hoped to serve out the remainder of their terms in UK jails but last Thursday were transported by bus to Ancon 2, where drug abuse and prostitution is common.
Ancon is a mixed prison complex housing almost 3,000 inmates in a remote location north of Lima.
Of the total prison population, around 325 are foreign prisoners, including more than 100 women, mainly serving time for drug charges.
Melissa’s father, Billy (54), expressed concern about the women’s move to the facility.
“This has come as a real shock,” he said.
“It’s a really worrying time for the family.
“We’re still waiting to hear something from Melissa.
“Even if you were moved, you’d still think you’d be allowed a phone call back home to your family to tell them you’re OK.
“We haven’t heard anything since Wednesday. I got the feeling the girls had integrated quite well at Virgen de Fatima but they’ll have to do that all again.
“Until we hear from them it’s difficult now to know how they’re doing.
“I just hope they’re OK.”
It is understood that in April Melissa submitted a request to the authorities to serve the rest of her jail term in Scotland after her family paid a £3,500 civil fine.
Mr Reid also spoke of being disappointed that his daughter would not be transferring to a Scottish prison as soon as his family had hoped.
“We were a bit swept up in a wave of emotion thinking the transfer might happen fairly quickly but I think I’m back to reality in realising that it won’t happen as soon as we hoped,” Mr Reid said.