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UPDATE: Instagram model sentenced to over 7 years after pleading guilty to drug smuggling charges

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UPDATE: Isabelle Legace has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to the drug smuggling charge.  She is set to serve four and a half years as her non-parole period was backdated to the time of her arrest.

Earlier:

Two women could be facing life in prison in Australia for allegedly smuggling cocaine worth $23 million during a cruise which they documented on social media.

Melina Roberge, 23, and Isabelle Lagace, 28, from Quebec in Canada, were reportedly arrested in Australia on Sunday, on suspicion of importing 95kg of cocaine.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.
Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.

Fellow Canadian Andre Jorge Tamine, 63, was also detained in connection with the $30m haul.

It is not known at this stage if he is connected to the two women.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.
Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.

The pair had been travelling on the Sea Princess for nearly two months, posting updates of their exotic travels on Instagram prior to their arrest.

Pictures show the friends in New York, South America, London and French Polynesia.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.
Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé. Credit: Instagram.

However, when they reached Sydney harbour at the weekend, the ship was met by border agents, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and sniffer dogs.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers said they seized the drugs after discovering the stash packed in suitcases, following a search of a number of passenger cabins.

In this photo released by Australia Boarder Force, a suitcase filled with cocaine after it was seized by customs onboard the MS Sea Princess in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. Three Canadian cruise ship passengers were charged with drug smuggling Monday, Aug. 29, after Sydney police allegedly found 95 kilograms (209 pounds) of cocaine in their cabin luggage. The haul valued at 31 million Australian dollars ($23 million) was the largest seizure in Australia of narcotics carried by passengers of a cruise ship or airliner, Australian Border Force commander Tim Fitzgerald said. (Australian Boarder Force via AP)
In this photo released by Australia Boarder Force, a suitcase filled with cocaine after it was seized by customs onboard the MS Sea Princess in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. Three Canadian cruise ship passengers were charged with drug smuggling Monday, Aug. 29, after Sydney police allegedly found 95 kilograms (209 pounds) of cocaine in their cabin luggage. The haul valued at 31 million Australian dollars ($23 million) was the largest seizure in Australia of narcotics carried by passengers of a cruise ship or airliner, Australian Border Force commander Tim Fitzgerald said. (Australian Boarder Force via AP)

Three suspects have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, the ABF said in a statement. The maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment.

The operation was run by the border force and federal police, in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, New Zealand Customs Service and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Shane Connelly, AFP Assistant Commissioner Crime Operations, said investigations were ongoing and further arrests have not been ruled out.

Roberge and Lagace appeared in court alongside Tamine on Monday, said the Toronto Star. They will remain in custody until their next hearing on 26 October.

(c) Sky News 2016

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