‘Peru Two’ narcotics mule Michaella McCollum unrecognisable as she graduates uni

A member of the infamous 'Peru Two' has graduated from university, ten years after she was jailed for drug smuggling in the South American country.

Michaella McCollum was working as a part-time model and nightclub hostess in Ibiza, when she made world headlines for being arrested in Peru.

She was stopped in the South American nation carrying 11kg worth of cocaine out of the country alongside Glasgow-born sales assistant Melissa Reid.

The double act had concealed the class A drug inside porridge and jelly packets to help mask the smell and to hide the evidence of any suspicious behaviour.

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They were caught at Lima Airport before boarding a long-haul flight to Madrid, Spain by customs officers and were arrested. Together, they were nicknamed the Peru Two.

The girls claimed at the time they had been forced by an armed gang to carry the class A drugs. They were paid just £4,000 each for the quest.

Worldwide headlines and even a Netflix documentary followed, but Michaela has completed her turnaround by graduating from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland with a degree in BBA in Business Management, Marketing and Related Support Services.

McCollum, originally from Dungannon, a town in County Tyrone, posed around the dock area of Belfast with her twin sons Rio and Rafael.

She wrote on Instagram: "10 years ago I was graduating with different lessons! So happy to have came this far."

McCollum then posted a series of stories of her and a friend enjoying upmarket eatery AMPM Restaurant in the city.

Michaella was released from prison on 31 March, 2016 after applying to be freed on parole after the initial prospect in remaining in Peru for up to six years.

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Her accomplice Melissa was later released on 21 June of that year after the Peruvian authorities agreed to ‘expel’ her from the country.

Whilst in Peru, they were taken to Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima but were later transferred to Ancon 2 prison with some reports stating they were in cells with 30 other prisoners.

During their time in prison, they were both able to train in beauty therapy in an attempt to later become hairstylists on release.

Late last year, docu-series High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule was released, narrated by McCollum.

She also released a book about her Peru ordeal in 2019, called You'll Never See Daylight Again – which was later turned into the BBC/Netflix series.

McCollum has seen her popularity boom, and is considered a celebrity in her native Northern Ireland. She boasts over 100k Instagram followers and is a public speaker at events.

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