It was the story that captured the attention of news outlets around the world: two women, in their early 20s, captured attempting to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru. The pair, who quickly became known as the ‘Peru Two’, became the subjects of a highly publicised court case that saw them sentenced to almost seven years at a maximum-security prison in 2013.
But how did Michaella McCollum (originally from Northern Ireland) and her accomplice Melissa Reid (originally from Scotland) find themselves at the heart of such a massive drug trade? And what happened next?
Featuring narration from McCollum herself alongside exclusive interviews with her friends, family and experts close to the case, the documentary tells the story of how the then 20-year-old went from seeking a summer of fun in Ibiza to facing 15 years in a South American prison.
When they were first arrested, the pair claimed they had been forced to smuggle the drugs, before later owning up to the fact that they had chosen to smuggle the drugs in return for a £5,000 payment.
However, as McCollum points out in the documentary, that doesn’t mean she was entirely clear about what was happening. Indeed, according to her friend at the time, Parry, the young woman was under the impression that she would be going to Barcelona to pick up a small package. But that plan was quickly revised – and soon McCollum found herself in trouble on the other side of the world.
Describing the bun she wore at the time of her arrest as “the world’s most infamous updo,” the five-part series later sees McCollum explain how she dealt with the influx of press attention that came with her arrest, how she and Reid came to be granted early release in 2016, and how she’s changed since.
From the fact that she thought Lima was a place in mainland Spain (something she only realised wasn’t the case when she saw the plane’s route outlined on the in-flight map) to her experience pretending to be a tourist for a week in Cusco, McCollum’s narration throughout the documentary is jam-packed with details which bring this infamous story to life in a completely new way.
It’s a fascinating insight into the life of a woman whose actions came to be so well-known in the international press – and with five 30-minute episodes in total, it’s an easily bingeable watch.
Episode 1 of High: Confessions Of An Ibiza Drug Mule airs tonight on BBC One at 10:35pm. All five episodes are also available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.