Melina Roberge, Drug Mule Instagrammer, Sentenced to 8 Years.
Melina Roberge drug mule who tried to help smuggle $21 million worth of cocaine into Australia on a cruise ship has been sentenced to eights years in jail.
Melina Roberge pleaded guilty in February on the eve of her trial for importing nearly 30 kilograms of the drugs – worth up to $21.5 million – on board the Sea Princess, which docked in Sydney in August 2016.
The 24-year-old broke down in tears as she was sentenced to a maximum eight years behind bars in the NSW District Court on Wednesday, with a non-parole period of four years and nine months.
Roberge was one of three people arrested in the largest drug seizure on a cruise ship docking in Australia with 60kg of cocaine.
Judge Kate Traill said Roberge was recruited by her “sugar daddy” to carry out the crime in exchange for a free holiday.
She blamed her actions on a desire to take selfies “in exotic locations and post them on Instagram to receive likes and attention”.
Judge Traill labelled it a sad indictment of the negative impact of social media on young people, who lead a “vacuous existence” seeking likes for self-worth and who have become a “marketable commodity”.
“She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now,” the judge said.
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.
Andre Tamin, 64, has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later this year.
In an affidavit tendered to the court, Roberge wrote that at the time she was “a stupid young woman” who was governed by superficial goals.
“I have devastated so many people in the process,” she said.
The court heard Roberge met her “sugar daddy” in 2015, and they began an intimate relationship while she worked as an escort for him.
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.