A 20-year-old woman whose family launched a worldwide Facebook campaign when she disappeared has been arrested by police in Peru on suspicion of trafficking $2.3 million of cocaine.
Celebrities and sports stars had taken part in the plea for information and the Irish government had become involved.
It turned out that dancer and part-time night-club hostess Michaela McCollum Connolly, from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, has been held by Peruvian police in Lima since Tuesday, according to the Irish Independent.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is providing consular assistance to the family of Michaela, who holds an Irish passport.
Police in Peru allege she had 5.8 kilos of the drug disguised as packets of food. A 19-year-old British girl, named by police as Melissa Reid, who was travelling with her, was said to have had 5.8 kilos of the drug, also disguised in food packets.
The total drugs package, depending on the purity of the cocaine, could be worth $2.3 million on the streets.
Both women were arrested at the Air Europa desk as they prepared to board a flight to Madrid and then on to Palma in Majorca.
They are still in custody while authorities fully investigate the case.
Michaela, a Belfast-based photography student, went to Ibiza – which neighbors Majorca – for the summer and she obtained part-time work as a hostess in a local club.
Her family launched a desperate search to find her after not hearing from her for nine days. They launched a social media campaign in which they reported that her phone was off and her facebook page had no activity.
Michaela’s sister Samantha said in her facebook message: “The last reports of Michaela was that she may have been in Barcelona or Madrid. These reports may or may not be true. Michaela would have contacted home at least every two or three days to let us know she was ok.”
Samantha’s message added: “Michaela comes from a very close and loving family and we are all extremely worried that she hasn’t been in contact and that we cannot contact her.”
The search for her ended her arrest was announced on the official website of the national Police of Peru on Wednesday.