Remember the two Canadian #travelinspo Instagrammers who turned out to be cocaine smugglers?
Quick refresher: In August 2016, Isabelle Lagacé, 28, and Melina Roberge, 22, of Quebec, along with 63-year-old André Tamine, were caught with 95 kilograms of cocaine on a cruise ship in Sydney, Australia. It remains the largest cruise ship drug bust in Australia’s rich history of narcotics smuggling – a value of around $30 million.
Yesterday, Roberge, now 24, was sentenced to eight years in an Australian prison. She will be eligible for parole in 4 years and 9 months, at which point she will likely be deported to Canada.
Now, for the Instagram angle.
In explaining why she risked life behind bars, Roberge said she was tempted by the urge to post selfies “in exotic locations and post them on Instagram to receive ‘likes’ and attention” on a vacation she clearly couldn’t afford.
Kate Traill, the judge presiding over the case, dropped some pointed social commentary and a pretty sick burn during her sentencing. She said it is “very sad indictment” for those among the defendant’s demographic to “seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many ‘likes’ they receive are their currency.”
“She was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world,” the judge said. “She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now.” Damn.
According to the judge, Roberge was due to receive the cruise ticket, around $6,300 in spending money, and some more cash for her troubles as the face of drug mule.
Last November, partner-in-crime Isabelle Lagacé was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in an Australian prison. The older gentlemen in the operation – identified as Roberge’s sugar daddy – has yet to be sentenced. He was caught with 60 kilograms of cocaine in his cabin, so it’s very likely he’ll spend the rest of his life in a place very far from Instagram.