Melina Roberce, 22, was arrested in August along with her friend Isabelle Lagacé, 28. The pair were caught trying to smuggle cocaine into Australia on a cruise ship
21 December 2016
Canadian woman Melina Roberce, 22, has appeared before an Australian magistrates’ court to face a charge of smuggling 95 kg of cocaine on the Sea Princess cruise ship.
She is charged alongside her friend, Isabelle Lagacé, 28, and another Canadian man, André Tamine, 63.
The trio were stopped by the Australian Federal Police in August.
The cocaine, which has an estimated street value of almost £17 million, was allegedly found in suitcases on board the vessel.
It is believed to be the largest drug bust of its kind on a cruise ship.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Roberce said “No” when asked in court if she wanted to answer the charge.
She also argued that she had no knowledge of the cocaine.
The court heard that there were no fingerprints connecting her to the drugs and CCTV footage did not show Roberce carrying the suitcase.
However, magistrate, Robert Williams felt that there was enough circumstantial evidence to prosecute the 22-year-old as she and Lagacé had booked the cruise within days of each other, they had listed the same emergency contacts and emails and had shared a cabin for at least 39 days.
The pair recorded their luxurious trip on MS Sea Princess, which took them to England, North and South America and the Caribbean, by posting pictures of their travels on Instagram.
This helped the police track them down seven weeks into their dream cruise.
Lagacé has already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in February.
1 September 2016
Canadian Isabelle Lagacé, 28, and Melina Roberge, 22, were on a dream holiday on a cruise that took them from England to Australia stopping in several countries.
The pair documented their fabulous trip on MS Sea Princess by posting pictures of their travels on Instagram.
However when they arrived at Sydney harbour on Sunday, 28 August, they were stopped by the Australian Federal Police and found with 200 pounds worth of cocaine in their suitcases, for a value of almost £17m.
Another Canadian man, André Tamine, 63, who was travelling on the same cruise, was also stopped and cocaine was found in his luggage too. It’s unclear whether he was travelling with the women.
The police are trying to determine when the drugs were brought on to the ship, which went through ports in North America, South America and the Caribbean.
The arrests was the result of a cooperative investigation between the Australian, Canadian and American authorities.
Lagacé and Roberge’s documentation of their trip on Instagram helped the police track them down seven weeks into their dream cruise.
The trio, all from Quebec, are now facing life in prison, the maximum sentence in Australia for drug smuggling.
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