Canadian who posted drug smuggling trip on Instagram sentenced to prison

Melina Roberge, 24, tried to smuggle nearly 24kg of pure cocaine, worth $16 million, into Sydney in her suitcase on board a luxury cruise ship, The Washington Post reported.

On Wednesday, New South Wales District Court Judge Kate Traill said she accepted that Roberge was genuinely remorseful and had a good chance of rehabilitation.

Robarge, 24, pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle 95 kilos (209 pounds) of cocaine on the ship past the Sydney Harbor during her 2016 trip to the country, which she posted on social media with an accomplice.

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

Andre Tamine, a wealthy Canadian man whom Robarge called her "sugar daddy", is scheduled to face sentencing at a later date for his involvement in the plot.

Traill also revealed that Roberge was sexually involved with the "much older man", her so-called "sugar daddy", who recruited her to transport the drugs. She never identified the benefactor, fearing repercussions for her family. Melina was sentenced to a non-parole period of 4 years and 9 months in prison before she will likely be deported to Canada. "It's for the lifestyle she wants to enjoy". "I doubt she is now", the judge said.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagac
Handout  Instagram
Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagac Handout Instagram

The judge told the court: "It is a very sad indictment on her relative age group in society to seem to get self worth relative to posts on Instagram".

Roberge did not admit her guilt until days before her trial was to begin in February. She was also invited to go on a drug-smuggling trip to Morocco the next year. He was caught with 60kg of the drug in his cabin. Melina wrote in an affidavit that she was a "stupid young woman" for taking part in this shocking operation.

Traill said the then 22-year-old was "there to look pretty", acting as a decoy to the drug dealing below deck.

Roberge and her travel companion Isabelle Lagace posted glamorous pictures of their travels on social media in bikinis and enjoying cocktails.

Australian Border Force officers were waiting for her and they searched her cabin upon arrival, which is where they found the cocaine.

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.

  • Tracy Klein