Quebecer gets 7 years in prison for smuggling cocaine into Australia

Isabelle Lagacé, a Quebecer who pleaded guilty to smuggling more than 30 kilograms of cocaine into Australia last year, is sentenced to 7½ years in prison.

Isabelle Lagacé, 29, will be eligible for parole in February 2021

Mélina Roberge, left, and Isabelle Lagacé were arrested in Australia in August 2016. Lagacé pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to seven years behind bars. Roberge has elected to stand trial. (Instagram)

A Quebec woman who pleaded guilty to smuggling more than 30 kilograms of cocaine into Australia last year was sentenced to 7½ years in prison on Friday.

Isabelle Lagacé, 29, looked relieved when she learned her fate, according to Australian broadcaster 9News. She was facing a life sentence.

Judge Kate Traill read out Lagacé's affidavit in court. Lagacé expressed remorse for her "error in judgment."

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

"This will haunt me for the rest of my life."

Lagacé pleaded guilty in December. Counting the time she has already served behind bars, she will be eligible for parole in February 2021.

She and two other Quebecers, 64-year-old André Tamine and 23-year-old Mélina Roberge, were arrested Aug. 29, 2016, after the cruise ship they were travelling on, Sea Princess, docked in Sydney.

Using sniffer dogs, Australian authorities discovered in their bags a total of 95 kilograms of cocaine. They estimate the street value of the drugs at at least $20 million.

Lagacé and Roberge were allegedly transporting 35 kilograms and Tamine was allegedly transporting the rest. 

The haul was Australia's largest seizure of narcotics carried by passengers of a cruise ship or airliner, according to the Australian Border Force. 

The two women travelled together, shared a cabin and posted many pictures of the exotic destinations they visited on social media. It is still unclear how they are connected to Tamine.

Roberge alleges she knew nothing about the contents of the suitcase. She and Tamine will stand trial in February.

With files from The Canadian Press