Cocaine Cassie ‘raped by drug mastermind’ before arrest
Australian drug smuggler Cassandra "Cocaine Cassie" Sainsbury has claimed she was raped by the drug mastermind who gave her the 5.8kg of cocaine she attempted to smuggle from Columbia.
The former personal trainer from Adelaide, who was caught with the illegal substance concealed in headphones in 2017 and jailed for six years, was released on parole earlier this week due to concerns of overcrowding in prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now aged 24, she's given her first interview from her apartment in Bogota to Channel 9's 60 Minutes, sharing new claims about the drug run she'd attempted in a bid to pocket a $10,000 pay cheque.
Recounting the days leading up to the airport bust, Sainsbury said she checked in at a local hotel where she met a 39-year-old Brazilian drug dealer she refers to as "Angelo".
In the days that followed, he took her to his apartment where Sainsbury claims her drink was spiked before 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.
"And then it was, he gave me a drink. And it was almost like, like I felt like I was getting drunk, like it was like, I was getting tipsy.
"And from there, he basically, he forced my clothes off …"
Sainsbury, who has claimed she didn't realise she would be smuggling drugs until the last minute, said it was this sexual attack that led her to believe Angelo would follow through on threats he made towards her family if she didn't go through with the plot.
"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, claiming he threatened to kill her sister and her 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."
While Sainsbury claimed she was acting under duress during her court appearances, she's never detailed sexual assault allegations against the alleged drug lord before. She's also claimed to have vital evidence on her phone, but says she has forgotten the password.
"Police opened your bag and they find the 5.8 kilos of cocaine, this is only hours, couple of hours after Angelo has threatened your loved ones with death and it's only days after you say you were raped by this drug mastermind," he said.
"You're standing there with the police and you have the hard evidence of this, but you chose not to say a single thing, to anyone in that room about any of that.
"Not to anybody in authority that could possibly help you. Now, explain that to me, how can we believe that's possible?"
Sainsbury, who is now engaged to her Venezuelan girlfriend Joli Pico, 29, who she met in the prison, simply states: "It's not as easy as saying it's not mine."
She goes on to explain she still doesn't remember the password, a claim that has long been ridiculed since it emerged during her 2018 interview with the program.
"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."
However she does admit to accepting the courier job because she "needed the money".
"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."
Despite spending 2 years, 11 months, and 21 days behind bars, Sainsbury - who has lost weight and speaks with a slight accent, said she "wouldn't change" the experience of being locked up because it had made her a "stronger person".
"I can say that I grew as a person, I grew up a lot, I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about people, I've learned how to analyse people better," she told 60 Minutes.
Sainsbury will have to stay in Colombia for another 27 months as part of her parole conditions.
She originally faced more than 20 years locked up but later negotiated a six-year sentence with a plea deal.
Last year, Sainsbury revealed she was planning to marry her prison girlfriend Joli, telling Liam Bartlett their romance "wasn't planned".
"I've actually had experiences with women beforehand, but it was more so, I guess I never pictured myself in a proper relationship with a woman. But here I am," she said.
Her fiancee is currently still in prison serving her sentence for theft, but is due to get parole shortly.
Sainsbury was released after serving just under half of her sentence when Colombian President Ivan Duque signed a decree due to concerns of overcrowding in prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally published as Cocaine Cassie 'raped by drug mastermind'