New Zealand's Customs Service has confirmed it worked with overseas officials to catch three Canadians arrested in Sydney after Australian authorities found cocaine in their suitcases.
Melina Roberge, 22, Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Andre Tamine, 63, all of Quebec, were on a MS Sea Princess docked at Circular Quay's international terminal when Australian Border Force officials boarded with sniffer dogs and found 95kg of cocaine stashed in the trio's suitcases.
Customs spokeswoman Prasheeta Ram-Taki said it was "very common" for international agencies to work together to catch drug smugglers and that New Zealand Customs had a particularly strong relationship with Australian authorities.
She confirmed the cruise ship Roberge, Lagace and Tamine were aboard stopped off in Auckland on its way to Sydney, but was silent about the New Zealand Customs Service's involvement in the investigation.
Ram-Taki said the service would not comment further about the investigation, citing "operational reasons".
Melina Roberge's Instagram account reads simply: "Currently travelling". But that's not entirely true.
The 22-year-old Canadian spent almost two months on an idyllic cruise ship adventure throughout July and August, including a stopover in Auckland before heading to Sydney on Sunday. On her social media accounts, she shared pictures drinking from coconuts and posing in front of turquoise waters in her bikini.
She was travelling with Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Andre Tamine, 63, aboard the $20,000-a-head MS Sea Princess, stopping in locations including French Polynesia, Chile, Ecuador and sunny Bermuda.
"Monday mood," she wrote beneath a picture of her feet in crystal clear waters four weeks ago.
A day earlier, at Manta, Ecuador, she posted a picture of herself above cliffs by the ocean. She wrote: "In my top five for sure."
She got tattooed in French Polynesia and rode a quad bike in Peru, but the holiday of a lifetime could be her last.
When the Sea Princess docked at Sydney's international terminal at Circular Quay, Australian Border Force officials were waiting to welcome her.
They posted a picture of their own: the contents of her suitcase. Inside the suitcases of all three Quebecers the officers allegedly found bag upon bag of cocaine. They estimate between them the trio had allegedly hauled about 95kg of the white powder into Sydney, a stash worth around $30 million on the street.
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.
Beneath a post on Roberge's Instagram account on August 27, after news of her arrest, followers mocked her.
"Currently travelling to prison," one wrote.
"Nap with one eye open in prison," another wrote.
The arrests carry with them the possibility of life in prison. Australian Border Force released a statement warning international drug syndicates would not get away with smuggling drugs into Australia.
"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," assistant commissioner Clive Murray said.
"Today's successful operation has resulted in three arrests and we will not rule out further activity as we continue our investigations. The AFP is committed to working with its partner agencies to protect the community by stopping these dangerous drugs making their way to Australian communities, and bringing those responsible to justice."
According to the Toronto Star, authorities within the Canadian Border Service and the US Department of Homeland Security shared intelligence ahead of the arrests.
They will now turn their attention to establishing where the drugs came from. The tourists boarded the P&O Cruises ship along with more than 1000 other passengers in the UK.
They travelled together to North America, including a stop in New York, before touring the Caribbean and parts of South America, including drug hot spots Colombia and Peru.
It's estimated a kilogram of cocaine could fetch $160,000 in Australia. The alleged smugglers won't see any such reward.
On social media, users were quick to criticise them. But others labelled celebrated their gumption.
"It was just coke, I mean, come on," one user wrote beneath a picture of Roberge and Lagace.
"I'm your newest, biggest fan. Come back to Canada soon so I can marry you. I'll never judge you or your drug choices."