Canadian woman Melina Roberge—known on the internet as “Cocaine Babe”—was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday after entering a guilty plea for attempting to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Australia in 2016.
The Washington Post reports that Roberge’s social media use was a key component in her case. Both she and her friend Isabelle Lagace documented their trip—paid for by Roberge’s self professed “sugar daddy,” 60-year-old Andre Tamin—on the MS Sea Princess. Roberge met Tamin while working as an escort, which led to an intimate relationship and two incidents of drug trafficking, the first to Morocco.
Roberge and Lagace’s suitcases, seemingly packed to the gills with cocaine, was discovered when Australian border agents searched the Sea Princess in Sydney. Roberge says she was promised $100,000 for delivering the drugs and confessed in court that she was seduced by the idea of taking photos on a trip “in exotic locations” in order to post them on Instagram and “receive ‘likes’ and attention.” Judge Kate Traill seemed to see that as more of a strike against her than an excuse during sentencing:
“It is a very sad indictment on her relative age group in society to seem to get self worth relative to posts on Instagram,” the judge said in court, according to news.com.au. “It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive are their currency. She was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world.
“This highlights the negative influence of social media on young women.”
You can watch the press conference below:
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Roberge must serve four years and nine months of her sentence before she is eligible for parole. Her partner in crime, Lagace, was sentenced late last year to seven and a half years in prison. Tamin will receive sentencing in October.