A top Spanish drugs cop has dismissed claims that Irish girl Michaella McCollum Connolly was kidnapped and forced to take cocaine out of Peru.
Ibiza drugs chief Alberto Arian Barilla has rubbished reports that McCollum Connolly and Scottish pal Melissa Reid were acting under duress when they were arrested.
The head of the Ibiza police unit tackling organized crime, Barilla is sceptical of the pair’s claims that they were kidnapped and threatened by mafia bosses.
His comments come as the Sunday Independent newspaper claims that McCollum Connolly owed over $6,000 to a drug dealer on the holiday island of Ibiza.
The Tyrone girl and Scot Reid had told police in Lima that gangsters held guns to their head and ordered them to make the journey from Ibiza to Peru to collect the drugs.
But Barilla says their story doesn’t stack up as the girls await a court appearance on trafficking charges and a probable jail term.
The Spanish officer told the Irish Sun: “In my experience I don’t think these two girls were forced to do this.
“The first thing you do is go to the passport control and say, ‘Listen, this is what is happening to me’.”
The pair were caught with 11 kilos of cocaine, worth over $2.5million, in their possession as they attempted to leave Peru last week.
Now the Sunday Independent has reported that McCollum Connolly was forced to carry the cocaine to pay off a drugs debt.
The paper also claims that she made a number of separate trips from Ibiza to the Spanish mainland in the six weeks she spent there prior to her arrest in Peru.
The report says several sources have told the Sunday Independent that Tyrone model ran up a debt with an English dealer who then ‘coerced her into transporting the drugs from Peru to Spain in order to pay it off’.
The paper says the drug dealer has since gone to ground, and has not been seen in Ibiza since she was first reported missing.
One friend told the paper: “She was such a good girl and I couldn’t believe that she had got caught up in all that. When Mic was going back and forth to mainland Spain, I thought nothing of it at the time, but now I see it totally differently.”
One local told the Sunday Independent: “I see drug debt every summer. These guys and girls are having a good time and think the drugs are free. But they’re never free.”