US & Canada

Canada woman jailed for smuggling $16m of cocaine into Australia

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace before they were arrested Image copyright Instagram/Mélina Roberge
Image caption Melina Roberge (left) and Isabelle Lagace before they were arrested

A Canadian woman who pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine into Australia has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Isabelle Lagacé, 29, of Quebec, was facing a life sentence. Two other Canadians have also been charged.

Australian police dogs discovered C$20m ($16m; £12m) of cocaine in their cabins after the cruise ship they were on docked in Sydney on 29 August 2016.

Lagacé's cabin mate, Melina Roberge, 22, claims she did not know about the drugs and is also facing trial.

Police found 35 kg (77 lbs) of cocaine in a suitcase in the cabin shared by Ms Roberge and Lagacé. They found an additional 60 kg in the room of Andre Tamine, a 63-year-old from Quebec.

It is not known if or how the girls knew him. Mr Tamine has pleaded not guilty and is also on trial.

According to Australian Border Force commander Tim Fitzgerald, the bust was the largest drug seizure Australia has ever had on a boat or plane.

Image copyright Australian Border Force

Lagacé told the court on Friday that her "error in judgment" would haunt her for the rest of her life, the Australian broadcaster 9News reported.

"It pains me to know my defining moments of womanhood will be spent in prison halfway around the world," she said.

The women from Quebec had boarded the luxury cruise ship MS Sea Princess in Southampton, England, two months earlier, and regularly posted photos of their travels on social media.

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