Glasgow & West Scotland

Drugs mule Melissa Reid released from Peru jail and flying back to UK

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Media captionPeruvian officials accompanied Melissa Reid through Lima airport

A Scottish woman jailed in Peru for smuggling drugs has been released from prison and is flying back to the UK.

Melissa Reid, 22, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, was arrested with Michaella McCollum, of Co Tyrone, after being caught with 24lb (11kg) of cocaine at Lima airport in 2013.

They struck a plea deal for a reduced sentence of six years and eight months.

Reid was ordered to be expelled from Peru last month under an early release scheme.

She is thought to be returning via Amsterdam.

Reid arrived at Lima airport on Tuesday evening with her father, William. She was accompanied by British embassy staff, and taken through security by Peruvian immigration officers overseeing her deportation.

It is understood that Reid will not have a criminal record in the UK as a result of her Peruvian conviction.

Any offences she committed in the UK before she became a drugs mule would remain.

McCollum, 23, was released at the end of March under parole conditions which mean that she has to remain in Peru for an undisclosed period of time.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Michaella McCollum (left) and Melissa Reid were arrested at Lima airport in 2013

Reid has served about a third of her sentence and under Peruvian law was eligible to be deported according to the early release scheme for foreign prisoners.

She has also paid a fine of 10,000 Peruvian soles, just over £2,000.

A spokeswoman for Peru's prison service, Janeth Sanchez, said Reid "served her time in prison according to the law and can now go to her country, free".

A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman confirmed it was not involved with Reid's case.

Hidden in food packets

Both Reid and McCollum were caught with an estimated £1.5m-worth of cocaine at Lima airport on 6 August 2013 while attempting to board a flight to Madrid, in Spain.

The cocaine was discovered in food packets hidden inside their luggage.

They had initially claimed they were forced to carry the drugs, but pleaded guilty to charges later that year.

They had faced the prospect of a maximum 15-year prison term but struck a behind closed doors plea bargain to secure a shorter sentence.

Following her release, McCollum told the Irish broadcaster RTE she had been "very naive, so young and very insecure".

Reid's father Billy has previously said the impact of his daughter's imprisonment on his family had been "horrendous".

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We continue to provide assistance to Melissa Reid and remain in contact with her family and local authorities."


How to move on after spending time in a foreign jail

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sandra Gregory spent four years in a Thai jail

Sandra Gregory was initially sentenced to death in Thailand after being caught with 3.1oz (89g) of heroin at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport in February 1993.

That was eventually commuted to life imprisonment and she spent more than four years in a Thai prison before being transferred to the UK and eventually given a royal pardon by the King of Thailand in 2000.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme she added: "I hope it is a lot easier for Melissa - she's a lot younger than I was. She's been away for less than three years.

"Hopefully it's the equivalent of a practical university experience that she can move on from."

She added: "When I first meet people it is relevant - it seems to be the most relevant point - but what I say to people is I made a mistake.

"She has made a mistake. Has nobody else ever made a mistake?"

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