'No hope' of bail for Canadian woman accused of smuggling drugs

Roberge and Lagace on one of their exotic stops as they sailed to Australia. Photo / Instagram
Roberge and Lagace on one of their exotic stops as they sailed to Australia. Photo / Instagram

Glamourous Canadian Melina Roberge who recorded her luxury cruise to Australia on Instagram before being arrested for cocaine importation has withdrawn her bail application.

With one legal opinion that the 23-year-old, who is in Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre, had "no hope" of getting bail, Roberge withdrew from the hearing.

Set down before Judge Antony Townsend in the Sydney District Court on Thursday, it was the second time this month Roberge had intended to ask for bail.

Roberge is the youngest of three French Canadians charged with the alleged importation of 95kg of cocaine in suitcases aboard the MS Sea Princess.

She has been incarcerated in Silverwater jail in western Sydney since being taken into custody off the cruise liner on August 28 last year.

Two months ago, Roberge sobbed during a committal hearing in which her lawyer failed to convince a magistrate the young brunette from Quebec knew nothing of the cocaine plot.

Roberge was arrested on the Sea Princess with former porn star Isabelle Lagace, 28, and a third French Canadian, Andre Tamine, 63.

Australian Border Force officers allegedly found 95kg cocaine in two ship's cabins after it berthed in Sydney during the three's lavish voyage.

New Zealand's Customs Service confirmed it worked with overseas officials to catch the trio.

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".

Lagace and Roberge made world headlines after it emerged they had posted pictures of themselves on Instagram in bikinis at different exotic stops around the world before their dramatic arrest in Australia.

Last December, Roberge sobbed in Central Local Court while a friend or family member sat anxiously as she was committed to stand trial for importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

Lagace has pleaded guilty to the charge and will be sentenced in June.

Tamine waived his right for a committal, and is due to stand trial in August.

On Thursday a legal officer told news.com.au that Roberge had withdrawn her bail application for the foreseeable future because she had "no hope" of release on the charge, which carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.

Last December, the court heard that Roberge had shared a tiny cabin aboard the cruise ship with Lagace for 39 days, while Tamine occupied a separate cabin.

An amount totalling 95kg of high grade cocaine was allegedly found in suitcases in both cabins, with 29kg in a suitcase in the cabin shared by the two women.

Roberge and the other two accused of the alleged cocaine plot had booked their tickets for the Sea Princess cruise within a day of each other and used the same travel agency.

The suitcases allegedly found with cocaine were similar in weight and the cocaine within was of a similar level of purity, similarly packaged in ziplock bags and taped with packing tape allegedly found in the women's cabin.

Melina Roberge (left) and former porn star Isabelle Lagace posted during their luxury world cruise which ended in their arrest. Photo / Facebook
Melina Roberge (left) and former porn star Isabelle Lagace posted during their luxury world cruise which ended in their arrest. Photo / Facebook

Details of the drug importation, which was Australia's largest by passenger vessel, emerged in Roberge's December court hearing.

Crown prosecutor Lincoln Crowley alleged that the two young Canadian women were an integral part of this "floating warehouse" of drugs, having secreted 29kg of it in a suitcase in their tiny shared cabin.

Evidence given during the committal hearing for Roberge alleged that although the police case against her was circumstantial, she 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.

"The cocaine, 29kg of it, was found in a cabin occupied by Roberge and 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," Crowley told the court.

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

"It is in effect a floating warehouse. They are sitting on it his until they get to Australia."

- news.com.au

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