Coke and a Smile: Drug-Smuggling Duo Took $23 Million Worth of Cocaine on World Cruise: Cops
A duo of gorgeous Canadian gals documented their $20,000 worldwide cruise like any 20-something would.
But authorities in Australia say Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberce, 22, had more in their luggage than string bikinis.
They also allegedly had $23 million worth of cocaine — the most ever seized from cruise or airline passengers.
Along with Andre Tamine, 63, the women — all Canadian nationals — were arrested and charged Sunday with attempting to smuggle 200 pounds of the drug into Australia as part of a major international drug syndicate.
But before they were hauled off to jail, these women had the time of their lives.
That is, if the trail of Instagram posts from exotic locales that span the continents are any indication.
From Southhampton in the U.K. to Sydney, Lagace and Roberce appear on Roberce's colorful Instagram feed posing in Times Square, wearing bikinis on beaches in countries down the coast of South America, and getting tattoos in Tahiti aboard the MS Sea Princess.
The world cruise likely cost the girls about $20,000.
The many glamorous stops actually may have contributed to suspicion of the women, officials said.
"Sydney is highly attractive for cruise ships... so we're continually risk assessing the cruise ships and the passengers that come by air. This particular cruise ship — because of the nature and the amount of ports it had been to — was considered quite high risk in itself," Australian Border Force Commander Tim Fitzgerald told reporters Monday.
And the sheer bulk of cocaine allegedly seized in locked luggage from Tamine and the women makes authorities suspect this was more than just a three-person job.
"I can't go into specifics about the background of this particular syndicate, but you have to be a very organized to get your hands on 95 kilograms of cocaine," Fitzgerald said.
The maximum penalty for this offense is life in prison.
In a statement, the Australian Border Force said they have not ruled out the possibility of additional arrests. They also called the historic bust a warning for drug pushers around the world.
"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," ABF Assistant Commissioner Clive Murray said in a statement.