Cocaine Smuggler Blames Crimes On Instagram Addiction

Melina Roberge pleaded guilty in February on the eve of her trial for importing nearly 30 kilograms of the drugs. Source Melina Roberge Instagram

She said Roberge had partly been driven by a thirst for taking selfies in exotic locations and uploading them to Instagram to get "likes".

One of her accomplices, Isabelle Lagace, 30, was sentenced in November to at least four-and-a-half years in jail after admitting she tried to smuggle the white powder in the pair's cabin to clear a $20,000 debt.

She included, "This highlights the unfavorable impact of social networks on girls".

Then the judge slammed Roberge, stating she was encouraged to go on the cruise by the concept of publishing Instagram pictures in unique places, the Early morning Herald reported.

But before the drug bust, she had written: "Traveling is one thing".

She will serve her sentence at the Mary Wade Correctional Centre, a maximum security women's prison.

Roberge, 24, wept silently as she received both a longer maximum and minimum sentence than her co-accused 30-year-old former porn star - Isabelle Lagace - who had received a discount for an early guilty plea. "It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive are their currency".

"She was there to look pretty", Judge Traill said.

All three pleaded guilty.

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Though she didn't take drugs herself, she was addicted to excess, and lured into the trade of drug importation by an older man, who she called her "sugar daddy", by being plied with money and gifts. Traill said, "He charmed her and spoiled her and became intimately involved with her".

Roberge and two other Canadians had pleaded guilty to smuggling 209 pounds of cocaine in suitcases aboard the MS Sea Princess during a seven-week cruise in 2016.

She had spent about seven weeks on the ship after leaving the United Kingdom, stopping in Ireland, the USA, Bermuda, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru.

When the cruise ship docked in Sydney, Australia, on August 28, 2016, Roberge, Lagacé and André Tamine, a 65-year-old Montreal man, were all arrested.

"Occasionally, 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 some of these men", Roberge said in an affidavit before the court, according to news.com.au. She even apologized to the people of Australia because she realized that what she was doing was likely feeding addictions and causing more problems.

He invited her on a trip to Morocco in May 2016 where she worked as an escort, and it was on this trip that he first asked her to be involved in the drug-smuggling trip.

Roberge was promised the ticket, $5,000 in spending money and more cash when she returned home.

Tamine will be sentenced in October.

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