SHANE Knowles claims Melissa and co-accused Michaella McCollum willingly transported 11kg of cocaine for cash.
A one-eyed bodybuilder told yesterday how he dated Scots drugs mule Melissa Reid – and pleaded with her not to get involved with cocaine smuggling gangs.
Shane Knowles, 37, believes Melissa and co-accused Michaella McCollum willingly transported drugs for money to support their party lifestyle in Ibiza.
The two are in jail after Peruvian police found 11kg of cocaine worth £1.5million inside food packages as they tried to board a flight from Lima to Madrid.
Both are charged with the promotion of drug trafficking and face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.
But the account by Knowles – who lost an eye in 1999 when he was nearly beaten to death by an alleged associate of crime boss John Palmer – contradicts their claims they were forced to carry drugs by an armed gang who threatened them and their family.
He said: “Somebody made them a good offer and they went and did it.”
Online posts made on the eve of Melissa’s departure from Scotland also surfaced yesterday which cast further doubt on her version of events, and even her own father said he believed she should plead guilty.
The Record revealed last Monday that Melissa had been pictured in Ibiza with Knowles – who is 17 years her senior – but only now has it emerged that they had a fling when she arrived on the island.
A picture on her Facebook page shows him and a group of young men posing outside the Las Piramides apartment block where she lived.
He claimed Melissa, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, got involved with the smuggling plot after seeing a friend get away with a smaller deal.
Shane Knowles with revellers in IbizaShane Knowles with revellers in Ibiza
He said: “(Melissa knew) another girl who did something naughty. The girl went and brought stuff back from Marbella. And it all escalated from that. It gave Melissa the confidence to do this.”
Knowles added: “There were plenty of chances they had to stop and walk away. Another girl walked away from it. There was meant to be three of them going. Another girl. But she walked away.
“All of these girls are just money hungry. They were all trying to have the best of everything in Ibiza.”
Knowles, of Runcorn, Cheshire, who has now fled Ibiza, said the deal was common knowledge among Melissa’s friends. He believes she and McCollum, whose former boyfriend Dwayne Mullan, 26, was jailed for nine months for cocaine dealing, were used to distract the authorities while a bigger consignment of drugs was smuggled through Lima airport.
He said: “We knew what they were doing when they were going to mainland Spain.
“They just thought they were going to mainland Spain and when they got there they were told they were going somewhere else. Nobody has come out to tell the truth since.”
Knowles, who despite having a criminal past said he had no connection to the smuggling plot, added: “They were the diversion for the proper stuff going through.
“Anyone with common knowledge of the drugs world would know that you are not allowed to take food across international borders.
“So the girls should have known food packaging would have been suspicious. They were a decoy for the real thing.
“Do I feel sorry for them? Why would I feel sorry for someone when I told her (Melissa) not to do it? I have not got one ounce of sympathy for them at all.”
Images apparently posted online by Melissa are also now taking on a darker significance after her arrest. One of the pictures on the Instagram platform seems to show Reid holding a cheap Nokia handset.
The accompanying hashtags “#ibizaphone” and “#1daytogo” suggest her departure to Ibiza is imminent but her decision to call the phone “#wongamaker” is raising eyebrows.
Another image shows her at Prestwick airport with pal Rebecca Hughes, 19, daughter of convicted killer David Hughes.
The pair are beaming at the prospect of their party island adventure. But one of the hashtags reads “#mightnotcomeback”, and the responses include “Dinnae dae it hen#gottabadfeeling”.
William Reid said he was “not 100 per cent” sure about the accounts given by Melissa, and Belfast-born McCollum, both 20, who claim they were forced to carry the drugs by a violent armed gang. Statements made by the women at Dirandro police station in Lima describe an encounter in the city when they say they were handed the drugs.
Melissa said they were instructed to wrap them in their clothes and pack them in suitcases. She described feeling “kind of relieved” after being apprehended by police at the airport. The women were taken to Virgen de Fatima women’s jail outside Lima on Friday night.
Melissa’s father, who has described the situation as a “nightmare”, said she should change her plea in order to reduce her sentence because “it’s indefensible to say that they didn’t have drugs or know they had drugs”.
Mr Reid, who visited his daughter in prison on Friday, added: “As I sit here tonight, I’m still not 100 per cent sure about their story. But two girls, who prior to Ibiza did not know each other, are telling a very similar story.”
Melissa’s mother Debra said she did not believe her daughter would willingly get involved in supplying drugs. She said: “I believe that she was absolutely not addicted to drugs. She is a good, honest girl and I believe she has been dragged into this against her will.”
In their statements, the girls tell how they were working in Ibiza and did not meet until they were kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to go to Majorca.
They mention individuals allegedly involved in the plot called Jake, who had a London accent, Christian, of Liverpool, Hector, Enrique and Julio, a Peruvian.
On August 5 in Lima, they were given packages to carry. Reid said in her statement: “Back at the hotel, Michaella and me started to suspect we were being used to carry drugs back. Enrique called to give us instructions on how to pack the drugs inside our suitcases. He told us to wrap them with our clothes.
“I started to cry and told him I couldn’t do it and he threatened us. He said his friends were constantly watching us and we would be killed if we didn’t do exactly as he said.”
Michaella said: “One bag had 16 packages, the other 18. They were wrapped in newspaper. While Enrique was speaking with us, we told him we did not want to go on with this.
“He told us we had to because his friends were waiting for us downstairs and they would be following us on our way to the airport.”
CCTV footage has emerged showing two women taking bags from a hotel and putting them into a taxi, while being minded by two men.
The video was recorded on August 6 at about 6am, just hours before the pair were arrested at Lima airport.
August 26, 2013
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