Cassie Sainsbury said a stint in sex work was how she first became involved in the drug trade, an act that would land her in a Colombian jail.
In 2017, the then 22-year-old was found guilty of smuggling 5.8kg of cocaine out of Colombia inside 18 earphone boxes. Although she was imprisoned for six years, she was released in April 2020.
On Sunday, the 27-year-old sensationally revealed to Channel 7’s 7 Spotlight that a brief stint in a “gentlemen’s club” led to her dealing cocaine in Sydney’s CBD. Her job would see her make up to 15 deliveries a week and earn $100 to $150 per delivery.
“I didn’t realize it was actually a brothel, because it said ‘gentlemen’s club,’ so I just imagined a bar,” the former personal trainer said.
Sainsbury said he accidentally applied for the brothel job after seeing an ad in Gumtree that advertised an hourly commission rate and flexible work schedules.
While she called her two-month sex work stint “one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced,” one lady put her in touch with a man named Joshua.
He then asked her to deliver envelopes that Sainsbury would collect from the brothel, before dropping them off at businesses within Sydney’s CBD. It wasn’t until later that she realized they contained cocaine.
“I was very naive,” she admitted.
“In one week it could have been two or three times, or it could have been to the next extreme and it could have been up to 10, 15 times.”
From Sydney’s CBD to Colombia
Eventually, Sainsbury’s delivery jobs led him to work overseas drug dealing. Sainsbury said that he originally thought he would go with another woman to London, where they would receive a package. At the time, she did not realize that the operation would involve drugs at all.
“I look back now and I’m such an idiot, to be honest, that I didn’t see it,” she said.
“They told us to receive documents and I thought I couldn’t send her alone because I didn’t want her to go abroad alone.”
However, he only realized once he received his one-way plane ticket that he was traveling to the Colombian capital, Bogotá. As she tried to call Joshua, she was left with no choice but to travel to the South American country.
“They had told me that they had followed me, and that if I didn’t follow through with their plan, something bad could happen to me,” he said.
Once Sainsbury landed in Bogotá on April 3, 2017, he received a package from a man named Angelo. During that eight-day trip, she said Angelo also drugged and raped her, before giving her a large bag to bring her back to Australia.
While Sainsbury said he knew it was cocaine, he “didn’t see a way out.”
Once at the airport, she was arrested by Colombian authorities and eventually sentenced to six years in prison and fined $130,000. Although the punishment was severe, she avoided the maximum sentence of 22 to 30 years, even though her father, Stuart Sainsbury, wrote to the judge asking for the longer sentence.
Just a few weeks ago, Sainsbury revealed that he had not spoken to his daughter for five years.
“I’m still pretty mad about it. My family was devastated. We share the same last name. I have an elderly mother to protect,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“I don’t know what to say. You smuggle cocaine. You do your time. I assume he has served his sentence.
Addressing the deep family drive, Sainsbury said she “didn’t expect” her father to turn against her.
“I think that’s probably the hardest thing, because at the end of the day I’m still his daughter,” she said. “I’m not saying he needs to forgive what I did. But I’m still his daughter.
From 2017 to now
In the years since her sensational arrest, Sainsbury said she is no longer the “scared little person she was six years ago”.
In March of this year he married a 34-year-old computer scientist named Tatiana, whom Sainsbury met in a Colombian nightclub.
Now working as an English teacher, the Adelaide native told her 19,300 Instagram followers that she and Tatiana will be splitting between Australia and Colombia.
“I’m excited to go back (to Australia), yes, don’t get me wrong, my life is more or less here in Colombia, and I’m starting a new English school. I am married, I am projecting myself in the best possible way, ”she recently said in a post on Instagram.
“We’ll probably end up between Australia and Colombia because obviously his family is here, so it’s going to be like, some time here, some time there.”
Originally published as Cassie Sainsbury reveals a series of events that led to her arrest for drug trafficking in Colombia in 2017