‘Cocaine babe’ plead guilty to smuggling $30M drugs on cruise
Known as the “cocaine ” babe”,” a Canadian cruise passenger finally plead guilty to smuggling more than 200 kilograms of cocaine on a Princess Cruise in 2016. Worth between $21 million to $30 million of the drug bust is Australia’s largest ever placed on a ship sail.
A Canadian woman who recently pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine aboard a glamorous round-the-world cruise admitted in court on Wednesday that she was partly to do for Instagram likes.
During her sentencing hearing in Sydney, Melina Roberge, 24, told the court that they accepted the act as a glamorous “cover” for the drug-smuggling operation after a man she described as “my sugar daddy” offered her money, trips and gifts, News.com.au reports.
In addition to the chic benefits of the job, the court also heard that Roberge enjoyed “tak[ing] photos of myself in exotic locations for the ‘likes’ and attention”, according to the Associated Press.
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Roberge and her cruise companion, Isabelle Lagacé — who the Australian and British media dubbed the “cocaine babes” due to their penchant for posting bikini photos along the voyage — were arrested in Aug. In 2016 following a 51-day Princess cruise from the uk to Sydney on board the Sea Princess. Another passenger, Andre Tamine, 63, was also arrested in connection with the incident.
Roberge and Lagacé, both from Quebec, were traveling together on a 51-day Princess Cruise from the uk to Australia. Lagacé, a former pornographic actress, had already pleaded guilty in November.
Roberge and her friends were identified as “high-risk traveller” by the authorities prior to their arrest.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) was suspicious of the trio, with regard to the Sea Princess, who is under observation because of the many ports of call between the united kingdom and in Sydney, the Telegraph reported. The ABF later the police stopped and searched the ship upon docking in Sydney after authorities identified Roberge, Lagacé and Tamine as a “high-risk travellers.”
Officials discovered 77 pounds of cocaine in Roberge and Lagacé’s shared cabin, and an extra 130 pounds in Tamine the room, together with an estimated value somewhere between $21.5 million and $30 million.
In the search of the ship, the Australian Border Force discovered a total of 95 kilos of cocaine in suitcases in the travelers’ cabins.
(Australian Border Force)
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Roberge also told the court that she and Lagace, who News.com.au identified as a 29-year-old former Canadian porn-star, were attracted to the unknown “sugar daddy” to serve as foils for the surgery. The two had also worked as escorts for the “sugar daddy” in Morocco prior to the taking of the action of the cruise, according to the site.
“I just had to go there and it looks like I was on vacation and there as a cover for everyone else,” Roberge told the court of her role on the cruise.
Roberge told in the courtroom that she enjoyed “tak[ing] photos of myself in exotic locations for the ‘likes’ and attention” on Instagram.
Lagacé was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty in Nov. 2017. At her sentencing, she claimed to have participated in the operation as a means of paying back a $20,000 debt they are owed.
Roberge and Tamine pleaded guilty to similar charges last February. During the Wednesday sentencing hearing, however, Roberge’s lawyer claimed that they only played a minor role in the scheme, News.com.au reports.
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Roberge also apologized for her actions during the hearing.
“Since I was in prison, I have people who struggle with addiction,” she said. “I want no part of that.”
Roberge punishment will be revealed at a later time.