Drug mule trying to fund 'Instagram addiction' when caught with $21m of cocaine

A Canadian drug mule who was part of a group who tried to smuggle $21 million worth of cocaine into Australia claims she did it to fund her addiction to social media.

At the age of just 22, Melina Roberge went on the trip of a lifetime – a $20,000 cruise everyone knew she couldn’t afford.

“She said someone was paying for the cruise… for a cruise like that, you have to do something in return,” her mother Chantal Duguay told the NSW District Court.

In 2015, Roberge boarded the Sea Princess in France with friend Isabelle Lagace but were later stopped by Federal Police in Sydney where they found 30kg of cocaine in their cabin, and were arrested along with Andre Tamine.

Melina Roberge (left), pictured with Isabelle Lagace, claims she smuggled the cocaine to fund her addiction to social media. Source: 7 News
Melina Roberge (left), pictured with Isabelle Lagace, claims she smuggled the cocaine to fund her addiction to social media. Source: 7 News
Roberge told the NSW District Court at her sentencing hearing on Wednesday that she initially said no when her
Roberge told the NSW District Court at her sentencing hearing on Wednesday that she initially said no when her

Roberge, who is now 24 years old, pleaded guilty on February 24 on the eve of her trial to "joint commission, import commercial quantity of border controlled drug" in relation to the narcotics haul found on the cruise ship.

In her sentencing hearing on Wednesday at the NSW District Court she told the court she was driven by addiction to Instagram and a desire to “take photos of myself in exotic locations for likes and attention”.

“I was offered to do drug importation… I refused… but then afterwards my sugar daddy offered it to me again,” she told the court.

"I was meant to just be there and look like I was on holiday and look like a cover for everyone else."

She has refused to reveal the name of her cashed up companion because she fears for her life.

Lagace was jailed for over seven years in November, while Roberge will be sentenced in the coming months.

The suitcase found on board the luxury cruise ship. Source: AAP
The suitcase found on board the luxury cruise ship. Source: AAP

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