She Instagrammed herself into prison.
Australia's so-called "Cocaine Babe" was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for cocaine smuggling after she showed off a seven-week drug mule adventure on Instagram.
Melina Roberge, a 24-year-old Canadian, smuggled 95 kilos (about 210 pounds) of cocaine into Australia in 2016, which had an estimated street value of $31 million Australian dollars (about $23 million U.S. dollars), according to the Australian Border Force.
"She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now," New South Wales District Court Judge Kate Traill said while handing down the sentence.
"This is a sad indictment on her relative age group in our society."
Roberge had the help of 30-year-old Isabelle Lagace, a former porn model. Legace pleaded guilty before Roberge, and was senteced to seven-and-a-half years for her role in the Insta-crime.
Another person traveling with the women, 65-year-old Andre Tamin, was arrested and charged, according to the Australian Border Force. He pleaded guilty with Roberge in March and will be sentenced in October. Roberge has accused Tamin of using her to sell sex and drugs.
Roberge and Lagace became Instagram stars for showing off their smuggling trip aboard the cruise ship MS Sea Princess. They posted photos from the ship as it crossed three oceans and stopped in 17 ports in 11 countries – including Columbia and Peru – before entering Sidney Harbor on August 28, 2016.
Their posts included photos of Times Square, a Bermuda beach, new tribal tattoos and soldiers in camouflage with rifles. One post read,“Gone to a place very peaceful – leave message after the tone,” according to the Washington Post.
But police in Australia delivered the women to a not-so-peaceful place – the penitentiary – after finding 35 kilograms (about 77 pounds) of cocaine in a suitcase in their cabin, along with another 60 kilograms (about 132 pounds) in Tamin’s cabin.
Authorities described the operation as a “huge haul” that represented “a record for drugs seized off a cruise vessel coming into Australia.” The trio had so much coke stuffed in their suitcases that they “did not have much room for clean underwear or spare toothbrushes," police said.
Roberge blamed Tamin, claiming he pimped her out to his friends before turning her into a drug mule.
"Occasionally, when we would attend nightclubs together, he would introduce me to some of his friends, and if I was interested I would spend time with some of these men," Roberge said in an affidavit before the court, according to news.com.au. "Sometimes there would be intimacy but not always. Sometimes I would accept money from them but not always."
In retrospect, Roberge added, she was "a stupid young woman.”
But on Instagram, she had a much different take on her adventures.
"Traveling is one thing,” she wrote in one post. “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.”
Roberge’s Instagram account disappeared after her arrest.
She will serve her sentence at the Mary Wade Correctional Centre, a maximum security women’s prison.
[Photos: Cocaine-filled suitcase: Australian Border Police]
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