Australian drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury claims she was raped by a Brazilian drug lord who masterminded her failed attempt to smuggle cocaine out of Colombia.
The former personal trainer from Adelaide was arrested at El Dorado airport in April 2017 after packing 5.8 kilograms of the drug into 18 headphone boxes in her suitcase.
The 24-year-old walked free from Bogota’s El Buen Pastor women’s prison two weeks ago after spending three years behind bars.
In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Sainsbury repeated her previous claims a drug peddler named ‘Angelo’ engineered the ill-fated smuggling operation – but added some explosive new claims.
Sainsbury flew to Colombia in April 2017, where she said she first met Angelo in person at a local hotel.
In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Sainsbury repeated her previous claims a drug peddler named ‘Angelo’ engineered the ill-fated smuggling operation – but added some explosive new claims
Sainsbury filmed mobile phone footage of the squalid cells inside the notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison
A few days later, Angelo took Sainsbury to his nearby apartment, where she believes her drink was spiked.
Speaking through tears, Sainsbury claimed she was sexually assaulted.
‘He was saying that I had to be there with him, that I had to do what he wanted, that I didn’t have a choice,’ she told 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett via Skype from Colombia, where she will spend the next 27 months on parole.
‘And then he gave me a drink and it was almost like, I felt like I was getting drunk, I was getting tipsy.
‘From there, he basically forced my clothes off.’
Sainsbury has always maintained she believed she would only be transporting documents, and not drugs.
But she said the sexual assault made her realise Angelo would follow through on threats he made towards her family if she didn’t go through with smuggling cocaine.
‘He simply had the threat above me saying that if I didn’t do what I was asked to do, that I was … it was my family,’ she said.
Sainsbury has previously claimed Angelo threatened to kill her mother, sister, and former fiance Scott Broadbridge.
‘I felt like I had to go through with it, because I couldn’t make somebody else pay for my mistake,’ she said through tears.
Throughout her trial, Sainsbury claimed she was acting under duress but has never gone into detail on sexual assault allegations against Angelo.
She was released from prison on Friday after serving three years behind bars (Pictured with partner Joslianinyer Pico)
The former personal trainer from Adelaide (pictured with her partner Joslianinyer Pico) will have to stay in Colombia for another 27 months as part of her parole conditions
Joli, who is serving time for theft, proposed to the 24-year-old and shared photos of their engagement rings on social media
She also previously claimed to have evidence on her phone that could prove her innocence, but couldn’t remember the password at her trial to clear her name.
Bartlett pressed Sainsbury on why she didn’t tell police about the alleged sexual assault when she was arrested at Bogota International Airport.
‘It’s not as easy as saying [the drugs] are not mine,’ she responded.
‘I know everyone says it’s stupid, like how can somebody forget a password, especially that has like key evidence?’ she says before breaking down.
‘If I had had the chance sooner, or I was given the chance to try and get inside of the phone, that I would never have had to have done the time that I did.’
Sainsbury went on to admit she initially agreed to the couriering of ‘documents’ because she ‘needed the money’.
Sainsbury lifted the lid on her former life as a sex worker at a brothel in Sydney’s western suburbs, where she worked under the alias ‘Claudia’. Pictured: Sainsbury on the Club 220 website
‘I know how it sounds, because obviously I accepted to come into it for money, I needed money, but I wasn’t exactly like, I came there thinking, yes I’m going to go and smuggle drugs, it wasn’t like that,’ she said.
‘But when I got there I knew something was weird. I knew something was off and it was like I’m here, like I already had both feet stuck in the sand.’
Sainsbury also lifted the lid on her former life as a sex worker at a brothel in Penrith, in Sydney’s western suburbs.
She said she applied for a position as a receptionist at Club 220 in a desperate bid to make fast cash.
‘The situation was very difficult for me and Scott. Neither of us had work, we had rent to pay, we had bills to pay and there was all this pressure on me to do something before we’d go under,’ she said.
Sainsbury claimed she only intended to work as a receptionist, but after arriving at the brothel her bosses convinced her to become a prostitute.
‘I got there and [they said] ”you’re not the type of person to be a receptionist, you’re the sort of person who needs to try and be a sex worker”,’ she said.
‘I wasn’t comfortable doing it, I didn’t like doing it. [But] if it wasn’t that then it was like ”what else?”
Cassie Sainsbury was arrested with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine (pictured) concealed in her luggage at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport in April 2017
Sainsbury was locked up at El Buen Pastor women’s prison in Bogota (pictured)
Sainsbury was engaged to Scott Broadbridge (pictured together) at the time of her conviction, but no longer speaks to her former fiance after they split in February 2018
It comes after Sainsbury vehemently denied claims she worked as a prostitute during a 2018 interview.
A former colleague at Club 220 claimed Sainsbury travelled from her home in Adelaide to the brothel and used the alias ‘Claudia’.
‘She would fly in and sometimes she would stay for a week or sometimes just for two, three or four days,’ the woman told 60 Minutes.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury filmed mobile phone footage of the squalid cells inside the notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison, which she was forced to call home for nearly three years.
While behind bars, Sainsbury broke up with Broadbridge and became engaged to fellow inmate Joli Pico, 29, from Venezuela.
‘Honestly, it was the least thing that I expected to find in prison,’ she said.
‘It started as a friendship and then out of nowhere it just turned into a relationship.’
Sainsbury revealed she has dated women in the past, but admitted she never pictured herself ending up in a ‘proper relationship with a woman’.
The pair were together for nine months before Pico – who is serving time for theft – proposed to Sainsbury in front of their cell mates late last year.
Sainsbury said her time in one of the toughest jails in the world has made her a stronger person.
‘It’s a mix between being desperate, being stupid and wanting to try and do something to get ahead and it came out worse because I lost three years of my life,’ she said.
‘It’s been definitely like a massive learning curve, but at the same time, everything that I’ve been through in prison, everything that I learnt, I wouldn’t change it, because it’s made me a stronger person. It’s made me who I am today.’
Sainsbury will have to stay in Colombia for another 27 months as part of her parole conditions.
President Ivan Duque signed a decree to release about 4,000 prisoners due to concerns of overcrowding in prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A TIMELINE OF THE COCAINE CASSIE CASE:
April 2017: Cassie Sainsbury, then 22, is arrested at Bogota’s El Dorado international airport trying to smuggle 5.8 kilograms of cocaine inside 18 separate packages of headphones.
November 2017: Sainsbury is sentenced to six years in a Colombian prison for trafficking cocaine.
February 2018: Sainsbury splits from her Adelaide-based fiance Scott Broadbridge.
During this time Sainsbury begins studying Spanish, taking classes from volunteer groups and teaches English for two hours each day while behind bars
2019: Sainsbury’s parole process is due to begin, however, her hearing is delayed due to a high profile prison break, a food poisoning outbreak and allegations of corruption.
December 2019: Sainsbury reveals she is in a relationship with a fellow prisoner, a woman named Joslianinyer Pico.
April 2020: Sainsbury is suddenly released on parole after the president signs a decree releasing 4,000 prisoners over concerns of overcrowding in prisons during the coronavirus outbreak.
She must spend 27 months in Colombia as part of her parole conditions.