Prosecutors: Cassie Sainsbury must name drug cartel or face 30 years prison

By @chelean on
Cassandra Sainsbury
Cassandra Sainsbury, an Australian, is seen in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia, April 12, 2017. Picture Taken April 12, 2017. Colombian Police/Handout via Reuters

Cassandra Sainsbury must name her drug suppliers or else face 30 years in prison. Colombian authorities have reportedly refused to accept a plea bargain with the accused Australian cocaine smuggler unless she would be willing to name the drug ring that she allegedly worked for.

The 22-year-old former personal trainer has been hoping for a plea deal that could reduce her sentence to four years. The minimum sentence of her case is six years, the maximum is 30.

However, according to the Advertiser, prosecutors were not willing to give Sainsbury a short sentence if she would not divulge details about the drug cartel. They would instead pursue 30 years for her. It is understood that she would enter a witness protection program to protect her from revenge attack from the cartel should she decide to go through with the deal.

Sainsbury was about to fly back to Australia on April 13 when she was stopped at the El Dorado Airport in Bogota, Colombia. Her suitcase was found with 5.8 kg of cocaine. She initially denied knowing about the drugs, which were enclosed in headphone boxes. She had claimed a man who acted as his interpreter bought her the headphones, and she did not check the boxes when he handed them to her in the morning of her supposed flight.

However, her defence team later said that she was coerced into carrying the drugs after the cartel threatened her family. Bogota lawyer Orlando Herran told “60 Minutes” that Sainsbury’s gym business got into some financial difficulties, and so when she saw someone on Craigslist offering a loan and a trip to London, she jumped at the opportunity. However, the itinerary was allegedly changed to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Bogota.

Sainsbury apparently wanted to back out at the last minute, but a mystery man showed her photos of her fiancé, Scott Broadbridge, and her family. The man allegedly told her that they would kill her loved ones if she didn’t fly.

Her mother, Lisa Sainsbury, told “60 Minutes” that she believed from the start that her daughter was innocent. “I don’t think it’s blind faith. It goes against everything she stands for and I believe she’s 100 percent innocent and I always will,” she said.

Sainsbury’s uncle, however, appeared convinced already that she was guilty. Neil Sainsbury told the Advertiser last week that he didn’t understand why Australians should be “funding a drug runner overseas.”

“I would hate to think my dollar is going over there. Australian taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be funding any (drug runners), the Bali Nine, any of them – they get what they deserve,” he said.

In case you missed it:
Cassie Sainsbury’s uncle doesn’t want his tax to help pay the accused drug mule’s legal costs
Cassandra Sainsbury worked as a prostitute in Sydney, new investigation claims
Cassandra Sainsbury’s last-minute plane ticket purchase in HK was red flag, US agents tipped off Colombia