How Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace came to document their luxury travels leading up to their alleged large cocaine drug bust in Sydney, Australia.
Melina Roberge, 22 and Isabelle Lagace, 28 and a third Quebec individual have been arrested in Sydney, Australia after attempting to smuggle $30 million worth of cocaine.
The Canadian women’s arrests along with Andre Jorge Tamine, 63 come as the trio traveled a bevy of ports on the Sea Princess cruise where they took to lavishly documenting their kindred good life on instagram.
With the luxury cruise line carrying up to 2000 passengers starting in Britain before making its way to Canada, the US, Columbia and Peru and Auckland, the trio are alleged to have smuggled the contraband before their final stop in Sydney on Sunday.
Appearing in court on Monday, the trio faced charges of attempting to import 95 kg (200lb) of cocaine into Australia after a sting operation led to authorities focusing on the arriving ship after a border agency identified the trio as ‘high-risk travelers.’
While the haul is an impressive one, it’s the cache of images that Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace took in the months leading up to their arrest which has caused a stir.
Pictures show the women, often in barely there bikinis, partaking in a range of activities, including drinking coconuts on the beach, riding quad bikes through the desert while making passage on their $20 000 cruise extravaganza.
Wrote Melina Roberge in one instagram post next to scant images taken in Chile: ‘Traveling is one thing … But traveling with an open mind, ready to taste everything, see everything, learn everything and get yourself out of your comfort zone .. Is probably the best therapy and lesson ever,’
Read another caption: ‘I used to be afraid to get out of my little town and now I feel like I don’t want to see that little town anymore cause it’s beautiful out there and it’s sooo worth it,’
Similarly, Isabelle Lagacé’s Facebook and Instagram feature dozens of bikini-clad travel photos, the most recent of which was taken in Tahiti with the caption: ‘Collect moments, not things’.
The pair also stopped off at the capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, during their round-the-world trip, where Roberge got a tattoo, which ‘means the protection of the traveler’.
Responding to the drug bust, ABF Regional Commander Tim Fitzgerald said the haul was the Australia’s largest ever narcotics bust through passenger transportation.
‘This is the biggest seizure of narcotics through a passenger stream, so either through the airport or cruise ships, this 95kg of cocaine is the largest seizure we’ve seen in Australia,’ Fitzgerald told Reuters.
He believes all 95kg were destined for Australia.
Added the official: ‘It was during the search of the cabin … that we identified a number of suitcases in the cabin itself that were locked. Itemizer or trace technology was used to scan the outside of those suitcases and as a result a number of tests came positive for the presence of cocaine.’
The Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force undertook the drug raid in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, New Zealand Customs Service and the Canada Border Services Agency.
‘These syndicates should be on notice that the Australian Border Force is aware of all of the different ways they attempt to smuggle drugs into our country and we are working with a range of international agencies to stop them,’ Australian Border Force Assistant Commissioner, Clive Murray, said in a statement.
The penalty for smuggling a commercial quantity of cocaine in Australia which often trades five to eight times the price it does in North America includes life imprisonment.
The trio will remain in custody until their next court appearance on October 26.
Traveling is one thing … But traveling with an open mind, ready to taste everything, see everything, learn everything and get yourself out of your comfort zone .. Is probably the best therapy and lesson ever. I used to be afraid to get out of my little town and now I feel like I don’t want to see that little town anymore cause it’s beautiful out there and it’s sooo worth it • ??
A photo posted by @melinar___ on