A Quebec woman who pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine into Australia while vacationing on a luxury cruise told the court her sugar daddy convinced her to do it.
Mélina Roberge, 24, and two other French Canadians, Isabelle Lagace, 30, and Andre Tamine, 64, were busted with 95 kilograms of cocaine (valued at $20 million) in August 2016, as they deboarded the MS Sea Princess in Sydney.
Roberge, who pleaded guilty to trafficking 29 kg of the overall coke haul, appeared in a Sydney courtroom Wednesday for her sentencing hearing.
According to News.com.au, Roberge said her “sugar daddy” who she did not identify flew her and Lagace to Morocco in May 2016 and convinced them to smuggle the drugs. In a letter to court, she also said she agreed to take part for the social media “likes” she would gain from posting photos from her six-week-long baller trip, which included stops in New York, the French Polynesia, South America, and Ireland. Tickets for the cruise cost $15,000 a piece.
"I was meant to just be there and look like I was on holiday and look like a cover for everyone else," Roberge said in court, the CBC reports. A friend told police Roberge claimed she was making $100,000 for her role in the operation.
Roberge told the court Wednesday that since she’s been in jail, she has come across women with substance abuse issues.
“I want to be able to help them," she said, as she apologized for not thinking about the consequences of smuggling a massive quantity of cocaine across international borders.
Lagace has already been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail.
The women made international headlines, earning the nickname “cocaine babes” by some media outlets, in large part due to the glamorous photos they posted from their trip.
According to Australian authorities, the shipment of seized coke was the largest of its kind smuggled via seaport or air.
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