Published: Fri, April 20, 2018

Instagram fame-hungry 22yo Canadian jailed for smuggling cocaine

Instagram fame-hungry 22yo Canadian jailed for smuggling cocaine

Prior to her sentencing, Roberge wrote a letter to the court, explaining that she embarked upon the trip to "take photos of myself in exotic locations for likes and attention, and hurt so many people in the process", Channel 7 reported.

Police with sniffer dogs found 35kg of cocaine in their cabin on 28 August, 2016, when the liner, operated by California-based Princess Cruises, berthed in Sydney.

A 24-year-old Canadian woman Melina Roberge along with her friend Isabelle Lagace posted their travel pictures on Instagram of 2016 summer which usually most of the teenagers of her age will love doing it. A third member of the crew, Andre Tamine, is yet to face sentencing.

The judge spoke of a "sugar daddy", a "much older man" who recruited Roberge.

Roberge said that she was recruited in June 2016 by her sugar daddy to go on the cruise, and she and her friend were offered $20,000 plane tickets and $4,000 to fly to the United Kingdom, where the cruise began. Her prison sentence includes a non-parole period of four years and nine months in prison, after which she will likely be deported to Canada. "I doubt she is now", said Judge Traill.

Roberge admitted that the Instagram pics were also meant to disguise the smuggling operation as a glamor trip and that she was not aware of the huge quantity of cocaine that she was carrying. Roberge will be eligible for parole in May 2021, after taking into account the time she has already served. She reportedly earned more than $12,000 as an escort in Morocco.


New South Wales District Court Judge Kate Traill pointed out during Wednesday's hearing that Robarge seemed remorseful and that she had "a good chance of rehabilitation".

Roberge told the court she suspected drugs were brought aboard at Peru, because of increased activity during a stopover there. He was caught with 60 kilograms of the drug in his cabin.

Roberge, alongside fellow Canadian and former porn star Isabelle Lagace, was offered a first class ticket worth $20,000, in addition to $5,000 in spending money as incentive to participate in the smuggling.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency identified the trio as high-risk passengers among the 1,800 on board.

The sentencing comes almost two years after the haul was intercepted by Australian Border Force authorities as the MS Sea Princess entered Sydney.

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