|Born||Cassandra Leigh Sainsbury|
1994 or 1995
|🎓 Alma mater||Yorketown High School|
Cassandra "Cassie" Leigh Sainsbury is a convicted Australian drug mule detained in El Buen Pastor women's prison, Bogotá, Colombia since April 2017 for cocaine smuggling. Initially facing up to 30 years in prison, her sentence was reduced to 6 years after a judge accepted a plea deal on 1 November 2017. With time already served and good conduct, Sainsbury could serve two and a half years. She could also be eligible for home-based parole if she can establish a base in Bogota. 
Early life and background
Sainsbury grew up with her parents in Minlaton in the remote Yorke Peninsula of South Australia, and attended Yorketown High School. Cassandra was 11 years old when her parents, Stuart and Lisa Sainsbury (now Lisa Evans), divorced. She stayed with her father while Khala, her older sister, moved in with their mother. Cassie moved with Stuart Sainsbury to nearby Warooka where she spent much of her teen years. 
In 2015, Sainsbury (as a personal trainer) opened a gym in Yorketown, but it failed and closed after six months. Sainsbury also worked as a barmaid at the local Yorke Hotel.  Then, she moved to live with her fiancé Scott Broadbridge at his parents' home in Moana, a suburb of Adelaide. During this time, Cassie supposedly began working for her uncle, Neil Sainsbury, for a commercial cleaning company in Sydney.  However, Neil Sainsbury has publicly denied ever owning a cleaning service.  During a 60 Minutes television interview in September 2017, Cassandra Sainsbury explained that she had been employed only as a receptionist by a western Sydney brothel on a fly-in fly-out basis from her Adelaide home. 
On 10 January 2017, Sainsbury made a now deleted yet prophetic post on her Instagram account which read "50 days until I make the biggest move I’ve yet to do ... 50 days until everything changes." She added the following hashtags: #newbeginnings #newyearnewme #2k17 #dreamjob #bondiliving #life #change #love #50daysleft #goodthingsarecoming.
On 12 April 2017, 22-year-old Sainsbury was stopped and detained at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia, before her intended departure on a flight back to Australia via London. Sainsbury had successfully checked in to board Avianca Airways flight AV120 from Bogotá to London's Heathrow Airport. The last minute purchase of plane tickets via an "unknown party" in Hong Kong, China drew the attention of drug enforcement authorities (the US Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA). Jorge Mendoza, Anti-Narcotic Police Ports and Airports director, said that Colombian police were given a tip-off that Sainsbury may be acting as a drug mule and smuggling drugs out of the country. She was caught with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine after an X-ray machine detected drugs in her luggage. The cocaine was allegedly hidden inside fifteen pairs of headphones Sainsbury had bought locally. Initially, there were claims that the headphones were intended as gifts for friends and people in her future bridal party. The estimated street value of the drugs seized was approximately USD$1 million.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade promptly confirmed consular assistance was being provided.
On 10 August 2017, Judge Sergio Leon rejected a plea bargain that would have seen Sainsbury serving a maximum of six years prison instead of up to thirty years. The plea deal struck with prosecutors in July would have been in exchange for accepting responsibility for drug trafficking, but revelations of threats against Cassie's family, during her last court hearing two weeks earlier, meant the current plea deal was no longer valid.  In a subsequent 60 Minutes interview, Sainsbury stated the only hard evidence supporting her case is on a mobile phone, but she has forgotten the passcode. 
On 21 October 2017, a plea deal was reportedly agreed to by both the prosecution and defence after it was put to the presiding judge in a closed court room. The judge accepted it and sentenced Sainsbury accordingly on 1 November. 
- "Cassandra Sainsbury plea-deal could deliver six-year term for cocaine smuggling". News Corp Australia Network. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Cassandra Sainsbury sentenced to six years in Colombian prison for trafficking cocaine". ABC News. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "Aussie drug mule Cassie Sainsbury sentenced to six years in jail, may be out in two and a half". Yahoo7 News. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "How Cocaine Cassie went from farm girl to accused drug mule". Herald Sun. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Cassie Sainsbury left hometown after racking up thousands in debt, residents claim". news.com.au. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Devik, Aleks (9 June 2017). "How Cocaine Cassie went from farm girl to accused drug mule". Herald Sun. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
- "Cassie Sainsbury was popular, but a flake, says brothel receptionist". news.com.au. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "All the holes in Cassie Sainsbury's story". Queensland Times. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- O'Neill, Marnie (4 May 2017). "Prophetic Instagram post: '50 days until everything changes'". news.com.au. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
- Begue, Michelle; Blackmore, Nicole (9 August 2017). "Cassie Sainsbury: Accused cocaine smuggler will face trial after judge rejects six-year plea deal". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- "New police photos show Cassandra Sainsbury with '18 bags of cocaine' in Colombia". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Australian woman in Colombia cocaine arrest, family says". BBC News. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- "Judge rejects Cassandra Sainsbury's plea deal in Colombia". SMH. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Needing evidence, Cassie Sainsbury can't remember her phone passcode". NewDaily. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Cassandra Sainsbury 'reaches plea deal' in Colombia over cocaine charges". BrisbaneTimes. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
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