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01 Sep 2016

BY Jennifer Morris

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Women charged with smuggling £17.5 million of cocaine on Princess Cruises ship

Two Canadian women have been charged with importing £17.5 million-worth of cocaine into Australia on a Princess Cruises ship.

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Women charged with smuggling £17.5 million of cocaine into Australia on Princess Cruises ship

Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberge, 22, from Quebec, were arrested after docking in Sydney on Sunday, BBC News reports.

 

They reportedly had 35kg of cocaine stashed in a suitcase in their cabin.

 

The women boarded Sea Princess in Southampton two months ago and police are still investigating whether the drugs were taken onto the ship at Southampton or they were picked up in one of the South American ports the ship visited on its way to Australia.

 

A 63-year-old man, Andre Tamine, was also arrested after the Australian Federal Police and sniffer dogs found another 60kg of cocaine in his cabin, which constitutes the largest drug seizure Australia has ever had on a boat or plane.

 

Australian authorities have not revealed if Tamine is part of the same group, but have said all three suspects have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine.

 

The charge has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

 

The Australian border force and federal police thanked the US Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Agency for helping to identify the three as "high-risk passengers".

 

The trio will appear in court at the end of October.

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