Canadian, 24, jailed 8 years in plot to sneak cocaine into Oz

20 April, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Convicted cocaine smuggler Melina Roberge dreamed of Instagram likes in exotic locations

Canadian drug mule Melina Roberge, 24, has been sentenced to a maximum eight years in jail for helping smuggle $21 million worth of cocaine into Australia on a cruise ship.

Roberge did not admit her guilt until days before her trial was to begin in February. The drugs had an estimated value of $16 million.

In November, Isabelle Legace, Roberge's co-accused, was sentenced to a maximum of seven and a half years in jail.

Roberge, Lagace, and a third French Canadian, Andre Tamine, 67, were arrested in August 2016 when the cruise ship they were on, the MS Sea Princess, docked in Sydney and their cabins were raided by Australian Border Force officials. Authorities have described the incident as Australia's largest drug seizure on a commercial plane or boat.

Roberge's role was to "look pretty" while the drugs were sold below deck, Judge Traill said.

Her and travel companion Isabelle Lagace cruised to countries Canada, the US, South America, and New Zealand, all the while documenting their travels with several Instagram posts.

She is the youngest of three Canadians caught carrying drugs on the ship during the seven-week cruise from Britain to Ireland. Instead of a life sentence, Roberge received the relatively "light" sentence of eight years, and she will likely serve four years and nine months of that period without parole in Australia before being deported to Canada.

According to Roberge, the real incentive was the lavish destinations and bikini pics she would be able to post to her Instagram, inspiring envy from her followers as she climbed the ranks of social media fame.

The 24-year-old says she was lured into a drug smuggling ring by an older man she called her "sugar daddy".

Judge Kate Traill condemned Roberge's motivation for crime as a "very sad indictment" on her age group who "seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many "likes" they receive are their currency". She was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world. She never identified the benefactor, fearing repercussions for her family. "I doubt she is now", the judge said. She was promised the ticket, €4,000 (£3,500) in spending money plus more cash once she returned home. Luckily for Roberge, she will leave prison while she is still somewhat young, but this is a lesson most assuredly learned the hard way.


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