Third Person, Andre Tamine, Sentenced in Cruise Ship Cocaine Bust

By Zachary Stieber

The third person involved in a conspiracy to sell cocaine from a cruise ship as it went around the world was sentenced to eight years in prison on Dec. 18.

Andre Tamine, 65, was sentenced to court in Australia, where the cruise ship was when authorities found 94 pounds (42.7 kilograms) in his cabin in 2016.

Judge Kate Traill indicated that the sentence could have been longer but said that Tamine was remorseful for his actions, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a letter Tamine penned that Traill read aloud in the courtroom, he said he was embarrassed and humiliated.

“I stupidly did as others told me to do, rather than stand up for myself,” the letter read, reported news.com.au. “I know what I did was very wrong and that I must be punished for my actions.”

He said he was thankful the drugs on the ship were seized and hadn’t made it to land.

Traill said that Tamine was an integral part of the drug operation, and “not merely a drug mule,” but said he didn’t realize the “seriousness” of the crime.

Tamine was introduced to a person in Montreal in May 2016 who offered him $158,000 to participate in the drug trafficking scheme. He organized berths for two women involved in the scheme, Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace, as well as another man who disembarked before the ship reached Australia.

The group boarded the Sea Princess on July 9, 2016. The seven-week cruise was scheduled to berth in multiple locations across Oceania and the Americas.

The trio was arrested on Aug. 28, after officials searched their cabins and found a combined 160 pounds (72.74 kilograms) of cocaine. Tamine pleaded guilty to importing a border-controlled drug earlier this year.

With time served, he could be released as early as March 27, 2022. Under Australian law, he could have received a life sentence, reported the Canadian Press.

Tim Fitzgerald, New South Wales regional commander for the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, noted previously that the amount was the largest seizure by Australian authorities of narcotics carried by passengers of a cruise ship or airliner.

legace and roberge
Mélina Roberge, left, and Isabelle Lagacé in a photo they posted to Instagram during their infamous cruise in 2016. (Instagram)

Previous Rulings

Late last year, Isabelle Legace, 29, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle cocaine into Australia.

Legace, a part-time actress and model, said she only agreed to participate in the scheme because she was $21,000 in debt.

“I was to provide my bag to another passenger who would insert what I understood to be an illegal substance,” she said in her affidavit.

She also could have landed a sentence of up to life in prison. Traill was also the sentencing judge and said that Legace had displayed “contrition and remorse,” at her trial, and had “very good prospects of rehabilitation.”

Roberge, 24, was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this year.

Traill said in that case that “It is a very sad indictment on her relative age group in society to seem to get self-worth relative to posts on Instagram,” reported news.com.au.

Traill was referring to how Roberge and Legace left a string of Instagram posts during their time on the cruise.

“It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive are their currency,” Traill said. “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.”