Australian judge slams 'like' culture, sentences Quebec drug smuggler to 8 years in prison

An Australian judge has sentenced Mélina Roberge, 24, of Quebec to eight years in prison for drug trafficking, in a decision that also criticized young people for their relentless pursuit of social media fame.

Judge Catherine Traill decried the 'vacuous existence' of today's young people

Quebec residents Mélina Roberge, left, and Isabelle Lagacé were arrested in Australia in August 2016. Police dogs found 30 kilograms of cocaine in their cruise ship cabin. (Instagram)

An Australian judge has sentenced a Quebec woman to eight years in prison for drug trafficking, in a decision that also criticized young people for their relentless pursuit of social media fame.

Mélina Roberge, 24, was one of two Quebec women involved in smuggling 95 kilograms of cocaine, worth about $20 million, into the country in 2016. She will be eligible for parole on May 27, 2021.

Roberge and her main accomplice, Isabelle Lagacé, 30, made headlines around the world after photos from their supposed cruise ship vacation that showed them posing in exotic locations were posted online.

Roberge told the court she went on the trip so she could get attention on social media, a fact Judge Catherine Traill referred to as "sad indictment" on people her age.

"It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive is their currency.

"She wanted to be the envy of others," Traill said. "I doubt she is now the envy of others."

Didn't think it through

During her sentencing hearing last month, Roberge cried while telling the court she chose to go on the trip without thinking about the consequences. 

She admitted her role was to make the trip look like a vacation, and that she had no idea how much cocaine was being smuggled into the country.

Roberge told the court that an older man in Montreal who she referred to as her "sugar daddy" offered her the trip as a birthday gift.

Roberge, Lagacé and André Tamine, a 65-year-old Montreal man, were all arrested upon arriving in Australia on Aug. 28, 2016.

Sniffer dogs found 30 kilograms of cocaine in the women's cabin and 65 kilograms in Tamine's cabin.

All three pleaded guilty. Lagacé was sentenced last November to seven years and six months in prison.

Tamine will be sentenced in October.