Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

'Cocaine Babe' weeps as she's sentenced to 8 years in prison

'Cocaine Babe' weeps as she's sentenced to 8 years in prison

A Canadian drug mule who attempted to smuggle cocaine into Australia on a luxury cruise ship has been sentenced to eight years in prison by a judge who said she had turned to crime as a way to achieve fame on Instagram.

Roberge and two other Quebecers, have pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine worth about $16 million U.S. packed in suitcases aboard the MS Sea Princess during a seven-week cruise in 2016 from Britain to Ireland, the United States, Bermuda, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile then Australia. He pleaded guilty with Roberge in March and will be sentenced in October. Further, she was set to earn $100,000 on top of that if all ran smoothly with the plan. However, Roberge was actually encouraged to use Instagram so she would get tons of likes and act as a decoy.

She was recruited by a "sugar daddy" who got interested in her after learning about her experience as an escort in Morocco.

"I hope she includes the pitfalls of seeking "likes" on Instagram in the pursuit of self-worth", she said. The chance to travel the globe, with endless photo ops in each luxurious destination, was too good to pass up.

Roberge said in New South Wales state District Court that she relished the opportunity to take selfies "in exotic locations and post them on Instagram" during a $17,000 vacation she could not afford.

The judge also said that the case was an example of how social media has harmed a generation of young people and charged that the suspect was living a "vacuous existence".

Roberge will serve a minimum of four years and nine months in prison, and her earliest release date is May 2021.

Great lengths are taken by young women around the world to secure a loyal following of likers, but a line has to be drawn somewhere-before online validation turns into 30 kg of coke and a hefty prison sentence.

Upon arrival in Australia, border agents searched the ship, discovering 35 kilograms in the women's cabin and 60 kilograms a cabin belonging to Andre Tamin, a wealthy Canadian man in his mid-60s whom Roberge described as her "sugar daddy", according to the AP.

Two women, believed to be Roberge's friends, also arrived at court today to support the 24-year-old. The haul was a record for cocaine smuggled in luggage through an Australian air or sea port.

Roberge had the help of 30-year-old Isabelle Lagace, a former porn model.

It was in Peru that Roberge said she believed, due to multiple trips ashore by four men on the cruise involved in the drug deal, that the cocaine was brought on board.

Roberge has made a court apology to "the people of Australia" and said since being in jail, "I have come across people struggling with addiction".

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