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Quebecer Andre Tamine sentenced to 8 years for Australian cocaine cruise plot

A Quebecer who pleaded guilty in Australia to smuggling cocaine aboard a luxury cruise ship has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Andre Tamine, 65, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Kate Traill in New South Wales District Court. Felicita Benedikovics, a spokeswoman for the court, confirmed the sentence of eight years, five months to The Canadian Press.

The man was one of three Quebecers convicted in a crime made famous by the online exploits of his two co-accused. Isabelle Lagace and Melina Roberge widely shared photographs of their travels on Instagram before their arrest when the MS Sea Princess docked in Sydney in August 2016.

Earlier reports said Australian authorities using sniffer dogs found more than 90 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $30.5 million in the trio’s suitcases.

Tamine, the third passenger arrested that day, pleaded guilty last February to importing a controlled substance — cocaine — in commercial quantities. Under Australian law, the crime could have resulted in a life sentence.

His sentence will run until January 2025, but he will be eligible to request parole in March 2022. Lagace was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in November 2017 while Roberge was sentenced to eight years last April.

Roberge told the court she initially refused to take part when her unnamed “sugar daddy” asked her to carry drugs on the cruise. But she later agreed when told she could enjoy a free vacation while helping the group.

In a letter to the court, Roberge wrote that she had been motivated by a desire to “take photos of myself in exotic locations for ‘likes’ and attention, and hurt so many people in the process.” Lagace told the court she took part to settle a debt in Canada.

The Canadian Press