Michaella had made bad decisions while high before, but as she got off the plane in Lima, more than 5,000 miles away from where she says she thought she was headed, this one even she acknowledged was going to take some beating.
Once in South America, Michaella found there was a lot more to this being a drug smuggler business than she had imagined. In an attempt to make their trip look like an authentic backpacker’s adventure, she and fellow would-be mule Mellissa were bussed round the tourist highlights of Peru and forced to feign normality for the rest of the passengers.
By now, she was she says, paranoid, anxious and full of doubt, and never more so than when the drugs were finally handed over. Kilos and kilos… and kilos of uncut cocaine that she quickly realised must have been worth millions, much more than she says she was expecting, much more than could be hidden in the few bikinis, shorts and vest tops that amounted to the luggage she had packed while high on LSD.
This would of course have been a good time to walk away, but instead she and Melissa decided to walk into the airport, and shortly after into the hands of the authorities.
When she felt the hand of an armed officer on her shoulder, she says her heart instantly dropped, but she resolutely refused to let the penny follow it for a little while longer yet; hoping against hope, and good common sense, that this was all somehow part of the master plan. Clearly, it was not.
Though as a lawyer who represents international narco traffickers reveals, it might actually have been the real plan all along.