Canadians Isabelle Lagacé and Melina Roberge probably looked like fun loving travelers to anyone they met on the road. Now the duo may be looking at a potential life sentence in prison after being charged with drug smuggling on Monday.
The two were aboard the MS Sea Princess cruise ship, docking in Australia’s Sydney Harbor, when the Australian Border Force found around 95 kilograms, or roughly 209 pounds, of cocaine hidden in their suitcases.
Valued at $35 million Australian dollars (about US$23 million), the smuggled drugs are officially the largest seizure of narcotics to have ever been carried by passengers of a cruise ship or airline in the country’s history.
The pair have spent the past months documenting lavish travels to everywhere from New York City to French Polynesia.
According to Australian Border Force commander Tim Fitzgerald, 77 pounds of cocaine were found in suitcases that were located in a cabin the women were sharing, while another 132 pounds were found in luggage located in a separate cabin occupied by a 63-year-old man named Andre Tamine.
All three were charged in the Sydney Central Local Court for importing a commercial quantity of the drug.
According to the Associated Press, they will stay in custody until their upcoming court appearance on October 26, where they could receive a life sentence if convicted.
Officials are still looking into how the three transported the drugs and whether they were sourced from one of the ports the ship stopped on along its way or if they boarded with the drugs from Southampton.
Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.