Two Canadian women are facing life in prison after £17.5m drug bust in Australia

image copyrightInstagram/Mélina Roberge

Two Canadian women could be facing life in prison for smuggling cocaine worth £17.5m into Australia on a cruise ship.

Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberge, 22, were arrested after docking in Sydney on Sunday.

The women reportedly had 35kg of cocaine stashed in a suitcase hidden in their cabin.

They were met by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) after documenting their holiday of a lifetime on social media.

Pictures show the friends in New York and even South America before their arrest.

According to Australian Border Force commander Tim Fitzgerald, this is the largest drug seizure Australia has ever had on a boat or plane.

The women from Quebec had boarded the luxury cruise ship MS Sea Princess in Southampton two months earlier.

A 63-year-old man, Andre Tamine, was also arrested after the AFP and sniffer dogs found another 60kg of cocaine in his cabin.

Australian authorities have not revealed if Andre Tamine is a 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 if found guilty.

image copyrightAustralian Border Force

Police are still investigating whether the trio boarded the ship at Southampton with the drugs or they got it from one of the South American ports the ship visited on its way to Australia.

The bust was run by the Australian border force and federal police, who thanked the US Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Agency for helping to identify the three as "high-risk passengers" among the 1,800 on board.

The trio are due to appear in court at the end of October.

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