Porn pair jailed after drug smuggling attempt into Australia

The drug bust was the biggest single haul ever found by officers Down Under

Drug-runner pair admit joining porn star pal in £15 MILLION drug smuggling cruise ruse

A DUO of drug-running Canadians have pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle £15 million of coke on a luxury cruise ship with their porn star pal, Isabelle Lagace.

Melina Roberge, 23, and Andre Tamine, 64, tried to sneak four suitcases of cocaine from Britain to Australia in a plot cooked up with “cocaine babe” Lagace.

The pair changed their pleas to guilty after the reckless ruse sentenced the 29-year-old adult actress to four and a half years in prison.

Isabelle admitted taking the class A drug on board the £11,000-per-head MS Sea Princess and claimed she tried to smuggle the drug into Sydney after she was given an ultimatum about clearing a £14,266 debt to an unnamed person.

In June, Lagace and Roberge boarded the luxury cruise ship in Southampton and began to document their journey across the US, South America and Pacific with dozens of bikini-clad Instagram posts.

When the ship docked in Sydney on the 51st day of their 68-day cruise, Australian Border Force officers found 30kg of cocaine stashed in a suitcase in their cabin.

The two women were arrested along with Tamine – a Montreal-based loner with no family.

Tamine and Roberge were expected to stand trial in February before they changed their plea.

In court, Lagace took full responsibility for her actions: “I have embarrassed my family, my friends, myself.

“It pains me to know that my defining years of womanhood will be spent in prison halfway around the world.”

Andre Tamine allegedly had up to 70kg in another cabin, divided between three suitcases.

Magistrate Robert Williams committed Mr Tamine to stand trial on February 3rd after he waived his right to have a committal hearing.

Evidence given during a committal hearing for Ms Roberge alleged that she was a knowing participant in the attempt to import the cocaine into Australia in August.

She entered a plead guilty to attempting to import a commercial quantity of cocaine and will be sentenced on the same date.

Melina Roberge (L) and Isabelle Lagace were found with £15 million of cocaine in their cruise ship cabin

The court heard four men – who were part of the alleged drug operation – were also on board as the cruise ship sailed towards Australia.

Lawyer Ragni Mathur argued Ms Roberge was unaware of the cocaine in her friend’s luggage, despite it being in the cabin they shared.

Ms Lagace and Mr Tamine had booked their cruise – which visited Colombia, French Polynesia Chile, Peru and New Zealand – together.

Ms Mathur said that Ms Roberge should escape being committed for trial because she was only guilty by association.

On CCTV footage of Ms Roberge embarking and disembarking the Sea Princess, she had “nothing in her possession except a wallet or mobile phone.”

Ms Lagace, who carried both an iPhone and BlackBerry — known as a device “that is impossible to decode” — had allegedly told investigators “you won’t be getting that” when they asked for its password.

Crown Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley told the court that although the Crown case against Ms Roberge was circumstantial, she and Ms Lagace had travelled for more than a month in a tiny ship’s cabin in which there was a suitcase packed with almost 30kg of cocaine.

He said: “The cocaine, 29kg of it, was found in a cabin occupied by Ms Roberge and Ms Lagace for the past 40 days, packed up, strapped up, taped up and sitting in a suitcase and would be worth a considerable amount of money.

“Two women are minding the cocaine. Ms Lagace and Ms Roberge are warehousing a quantity of cocaine.

“It is in effect a floating warehouse. They are sitting on this until they get to Australia.”

Mr Crowley said the drugs were in layers of Clipseal plastic bags tied up with masking tape and kept in a Swiss suitcase in the girls’ cabin.

He said the larger amount of cocaine, allegedly found in Mr Tamine’s cabin, was similarly packaged inside three suitcases.

As a defence, Ms Mathur said: “You don’t need two chickens to keep warm a golden egg.”

The maximum penalty for smuggling a commercial quantity of cocaine, a federal offence in Australia, is life imprisonment.



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