Peru two documentary: who are Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum, what did they do - and where are they now?

BBC true crime documentary High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule starts on 5 July

BBC docuseries High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule will take viewers on the journey of Michaella McCollum’s experience inside a Peruvian jail.

The Peru Two, Michaella MCCollum and Melissa Reid, were arrested in Lima, Peru, when they became embroiled in international drug smuggling while holidaying in Ibiza.

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The pair were sentenced to nearly seven years in a Peruvian jail (Picture: Getty Images)

In 2013, McCollum from Northern Ireland and Reid from Scotland, met in Ibiza before flying to Peru and claimed they were recruited by drug smugglers.

So, who is Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid - and what is the story behind how they ended up in one of the world’s most notorious prisons? This is what you need to know.

Who is Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum?

The Peru 2 was a media-coined name given to the two girls, aged 20 at the time of their arrest, who were arrested in Peru for drug smuggling.

The Peru Two were 20 years old when they were arrested for drug smuggling (Picture: Getty Images)

McCollum had ventured on her first holiday abroad, leaving her home in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. Reid, of Lenzie in Glasgow, did not know McCollum before she too flew out to Ibiza.

In July 2013, the duo met while on the Balearic party island and became friends, Reid has since admitted she was on a “downwards spiral” of cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine while on holiday.

They then travelled to Peru separately, where they were arrested and ultimately sentenced nearly to seven years in jail.

What did they do?

McCollum and Reid were caught with around £1.5million of cocaine in their luggage at Jorge Chávez International Airport on August 6, 2013.

Security at the airport found 11kg of cocaine and arrested the pair. They then claimed they had been taken hostage by drug mules and forced to smuggle drugs from Peru in Spain.

We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below

McCollum said she hadn’t met Reid until she was in Peru, but images and text messages on their Blackberry phones showed they had been close friends in Ibiza and had flown out separately to Peru.

The girls claimed a Peruvian named Enrique had forced them to pose for photos together on a trip to Machu Picchu to show they were happy, despite being under duress.

It transpired that the girls had willingly flown to Peru, went on tourist trips to make them seem like average holidaymakers, then planned to smuggle the drugs to Spain.

Reid has since admitted that she was offered around £4,000 to smuggle the cocaine, and she took part for the financial gain and also to boast about it to her friends.

Both later admitted to international drug smuggling.

What sentence did they get?

McCollum and Reid were sentenced to serve 6 years and eight months in Ancon 2 prison, which is about an hour's journey north of the country's capital, Lima.

They began their sentences on 17 December 2014, the prison houses almost all of the country’s foreign inmates and has a women’s wing.

They engaged in training while at the prison, both undertaking beauty therapy training.

In early 2016, both women sought to return to the United Kingdom. McCollum applied to be freed on parole, which meant she could have been held in the country for a further six years. She was released on 31 March 2016, but had to remain in the country until a judge ruled whether she could leave.

Reid applied for expulsion, which meant she would be allowed to return to the UK immediately.

In April 2016, the Peruvian authorities agreed to expel Reid from the country. On 21 June, Reid was released and fled to the UK immediately, arriving in Glasgow the following day.

McCollum did not return home until August, she arrived in Dublin airport in the Republic of Ireland on 13 August 2016.

Where are they now?

Since returning to the UK, Reid has largely avoided any publicity. She has begun working for charity Citizens Advice, and said of her arrest: “I made a conscious decision to do it and no one forced me. I did an awful thing and I’ve paid the price.”

Meanwhile, McCollum has engaged with the huge amount of media interest in their story and has been interviewed several times. She has also written a book, titled ‘You'll Never See Daylight Again’.

McCollum wrote in her book that Reid was a “real friend”, and she said her co-conspirator had “badass bravado”.

She also hinted that Reid has not kept up their friendship, writing: "I often wondered how life would have been without you. If I didn't have you all those times I was falling.

"When I needed to cry, you were there. When I felt like I couldn't do it anymore, you picked me up.

"You were there for me through so much. It's a scary thought doing all of that without you.

"Thank you for being part of that journey and showing me what a real friendship is.”

What is BBC’s High: Confessions of a Drug Mule about?

The new documentary will reveal McCollum’s experience, from Ibiza holidaying to Peru drug smuggling.

The documentary’s premise says: “Told in her own words, McCollum recounts the extraordinary story of how she became infamous worldwide as one half of the Peru Two.

"From how she was recruited as a cartel drug mule and came to be arrested, tried and jailed in one of the most notorious maximum security prisons in Peru, to the even more extraordinary story of how she got herself out again."

Reid will not feature, an actress will replace her in dramatised scenes showing the events which took place.

McCollum’s family and friends will also share their thoughts and concerns about her time in Peru.

High: Confessions of a Drug Mule is now available on BBC Three, via the BBC iPlayer.