Instagram-Famous Cocaine Mule Sentenced to Eight Years
The second of two Canadian drug mules that documented their luxurious cocaine-smuggling journey on Instagram was sentenced to spend seven years in an Australian prison for her crimes.
Melina Roberge, along with cohort Isabelle Lagace, were named “the worst cocaine smugglers of all time” when Rolling Stone profiled the pair in 2016. Roberge pleaded guilty in February to helping smuggle 209 pounds of cocaine in suitcases aboard a seven-week cruise ship.
Roberge and Lagace’s sojourn into smuggling went viral after photos of the pair’s selfies in exotic locations along the cruise’s path cemented the duo’s guilt; during a stop in Australia, drug-sniffing dogs found 77 pounds of cocaine in the girls’ cabin, the Associated Press reports. A third accomplice, 65-year-old Andre Tamine, also previously pleaded guilty in the $16 million scheme and awaits sentencing.
“[Roberge] was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world,” Judge Kate Traill said while handing down her sentence. “She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now.”
Traill also called the crime a “very sad indictment” on the social media generation who “seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many ‘likes’ they receive are their currency.”
The 24-year-old Roberge’s sentence will include a non-parole period of four years and nine months. Following her prison stint, she will be deported back to Canada. Lagace was previously given a seven-year sentence for the bust, which set a record for cocaine smuggled at an Australian port.
In an affivadit, Roberge called herself a “stupid young woman” who was lured by a wealthy Canadian “sugar daddy” to take part in the smuggling scheme; Roberge did not identify the “sugar daddy” over concerns of repercussions against her family in Canada, news.com.au reports.
In addition to the globetrotting trip, Roberge was also promised a small percentage of the earnings for her part in the smuggling, which was essentially a decoy role. “[Roberge was] there to look pretty,” the judge said.