Revealed: Secret deal that has enabled drugs mule Michaella McCollum to return home
BEAMING drugs mule Michaella McCollum has returned home.
Posting a selfie on Instagram on Saturday, the cocaine smuggler smiled as she prepared for take-off on board a flight destined for London.
The Sunday World can reveal that the 23-year-old has made a secret deal with Peruvian authorities in recent weeks that enables her to complete the remaining four years of her sentence in her native Ireland.
After enduring a 13-hour flight from Lima she made a connecting flight to Dublin, where she was to be reunited with her family.
Dressed casually in a black polo jumper, the Co Tyrone woman looked happy as she said a cyber-farewell to the friends she made in Peru, saying a special goodbye to flatmate and best friend Jackie.
Jackie, known as 'La Chinita' - which means 'rare Asian girl' in Spanish - met McCollum while serving time in the notorious Ancon Dos prison for similar drug charges.
Upon their release the pair maintained their friendship, eventually sharing a flat together and snapping pictures of each other partying regularly in Lima's most popular clubs.
After accompanying Michaella to the airport she posted a farewell collage of pictures taken during their time together.
"I will miss u baby gurl. The secret and the magic was God… Amen… Everything was possible to Him wen u believe in him," she wrote.
Michaella with friend Jackie
The terms of her deportation are currently unclear, but she will be expected to see out the terms of her parole, paying her debt back to society after being nabbed smuggling 11kg of cocaine into the country.
An option would be to continue the court-imposed voluntary work she has been carrying out in Lima under the leadership of Donegal priest Fr Sean Walsh, who is a member of the Columban Fathers Mission.
The Mission has headquarters in Navan, Co Meath and runs several voluntary projects across Ireland and Europe.
McCollum was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail, serving two, alongside fellow drug trafficker Melissa Reid.
Reid recently returned to Scotland where she will serve the rest of her sentence on parole, without the strict terms attached to McCollum.
Earlier this year the Sunday World revealed how McCollum had been released into the care of Bishop Walsh and that she would be working as a volunteer for the Mission on HIV/ AIDS programmes – sometimes in the jail where she was housed.
The Gweedore-born priest revealed how the young woman had impressed authorities, saying they described her behaviour as "exemplary".