Millions worth of cocaine stashed away on an Instragrammable international voyage…what could possibly go wrong? A Canadian woman sentenced for trafficking 200 pounds of cocaine on a cruise is looking at some serious jail time. In 2016, Australian police apprehended Melina Roberge, known as ‘Cocaine babe’, after she chronicled her vacation on Instagram. Here’s a closer look at Cocaine babe’s infamous voyage Down Under and the judge’s final verdict.
Pics Or It Didn’t Happen
Melina Roberge embarked on the journey of a lifetime from New York City. During that week aboard the MS Sea Princess, Roberge and her accomplice, former porn star Isabelle Lagace, posted photos of the 11 countries and 17 ports the cruise ship visited, according to Time. From Irish coffee to swimming in crystal clear water to tribal tattoos, the trip seemed to be going smoothly (and photogenically) for the smugglers.
According to the Washington Post, Roberge also shared some classic social media wisdom: “Traveling is one thing. But traveling with an open mind, ready to taste everything, see everything, learn everything and get yourself out of your comfort zone … is probably the best therapy and lesson ever.”
It doesn’t look like Roberge won’t be traveling much for the next few years, unless you count deportation back to Canada.
On the 51st day of the 68-day trip, border agents from Syndey searched the women’s cabin. What they found inspired headlines everywhere: 209 pounds of cocaine worth 30.5 million Australian dollars.
According to the Australian Border Force, the travelers “did not have much room for clean underwear or spare toothbrushes.”
Cocaine Babe Was Recruited By Her Sugar Daddy
But only 77 pounds of the cocaine was packed amongst Roberge and Lagrace’s things. Like a Lana Del Rey song, most of the drugs (a whopping 130 pounds) were in Roberge’s sugar daddy’s cabin.
60-year-old Andre Tamin is an affluent Canadian who met Roberge when she was working as an escort. In Montreal, he connected her with other potential clients.
“When we would attend nightclubs together he would introduce me to some of his friends and if I was interested I would spend time with these men,” Roberge told the court.
In 2015, Roberge embarked on a trip to Morrocco for Tamin. “I went on the trip and worked as an escort,” she explained. Roberge made an estimated $16,000 during that week.
After that trip’s success, Tamin offered her the cruise smuggling gig. The reward? $100,000. According to New South Wales state District Court Judge Kate Traill, Tamin “charmed her and spoiled her and became intimately involved with her.”
Melina Roberge’s Is Facing Hard Time and Deportation
Judge Traill had little sympathy for Roberge. According to new.com.au, Traill told the court, “She was seduced by the lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world.”
Some say that Instagram can be as addictive as cocaine.
The judge went on to denounce social media, and the superficial culture it perpetuates. “It is a very sad indictment on her relative age group in society to seem to get self-worth relative to posts on Instagram,” said Traill.
This woman sentenced for trafficking 200 pounds of cocaine on a cruise is facing 7 and a half years in prison. Roberge won’t be up for parole for at least 4 years and 9 months. Authorities anticipate deporting Roberge back to her native Canada.
By comparison, Isabelle Lagace, who pleaded guilty earlier on, received a less severe sentence. The court will sentence Tamin this fall.
Final Hit: Woman Sentenced For Trafficking 200 Pounds of Cocaine on a Cruise
This French-Canadian former escort turned drug trafficker faced trial for smuggling a commercial quantity of cocaine. Though the maximum sentence for these charges is life, Melina Roberge received only 7 and a half years.
Perhaps Roberge’s willingness to report on her “sugar daddy”‘s international drug and prostitution ring reduced her sentence.