Drugs

Quebec Pair Pleads Guilty to Smuggling $21-million in Cocaine Into Australia by Cruise Ship

It's Australia's largest-known drug importation by passenger vessel.
February 27, 2018, 2:05am
Melina Roberge, left, has pled guilty in the plot. Isabelle Lagace, had previously pled guilty. Photo via Instagram. 

This story first appeared on VICE Australia.

Canadians Melina Roberge and Andre Tamine pled guilty yesterday to involvement in a $21-million plan to smuggle cocaine into Australia via cruise ship. Roberge is currently being held at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre in western Sydney.

Roberge, 23, and Tamine, 64, were arrested in the summer of 2016 when their cruise ship 'Sea Princess' docked in Sydney and police found 95kg of cocaine in their cabins. The drugs were stuffed inside suitcases and wrapped in plastic bags.

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Both changed their plea after another women they were traveling with, Isabelle Lagace, was sentenced to seven years jail for her role in the scheme. Lagace, 28, pled guilty within months of the drugs being discovered, explaining that she was trying to clear some debt and thought the trip would be “an easy job for easy money.”

Roberge, left, and Isabelle Lagace. Source: Instagram

The trio of Quebecers spent seven weeks cruising around the world together on Sea Princess, recording the journey on Instagram as they went. The cruise started in England and stopped along the way in Ireland, the US, Canada, New Zealand, and South America. According to her Facebook account, Roberge worked as the manager of a Pandora store in Montreal before she embarked on the round-the-world cruise.

Roberge and Tamine will both remain behind bars until their hearings, on March 21 and October 26 respectively.