For Spanish drug mules caught in Peru, a long journey home

LIMA, Peru — Patricia Calvino has marked every day spent in a Peruvian prison on drug charges since 2013 with a cross through a calendar, a sobering reminder of how long she has spent away from her daughter in Spain.

Three years and seven months later, Calvino will join 30 other Spanish prisoners Thursday on a flight back home — the largest repatriation of Spaniards serving prison sentences abroad in the European nation’s history.

Peru is the world’s second-largest cocaine producer, and much of the narcotics arriving in Europe passes through Spain, where traffickers prowl for recruits like Calvino in nightclubs, offering a hefty sum to travel to Lima and bring back cocaine. There are currently more than 200 Spaniards in Peruvian prisons on drug charges, more inmates than from any other foreign country.

The Associated Press visited with Spanish inmates at a prison near this Andean country’s capital Wednesday. The agreement under which they will leave Thursday was brokered between the two countries to allow the inmates to serve the rest of their sentences in Spain.

“I do not sleep,” said Calvino, 26, cooling herself with a black fan in a passageway at the Piedras Gordas II prison, on a…