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Sainsbury admits to drug trafficking: lawyer

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Accused drug mule Cassie Sainsbury has, through her lawyer, admitted she attempted to smuggle cocaine into Australia, but did so out of fear she and her family would be killed by an international drug syndicate if she refused.

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Her Colombian attorney, Orlando Herron, told Nine Network’s 60 Minutes on Sunday that the South Australian had been innocently lured by an advertisement on the website Craigslist that promised a loan and a trip to London. The ad allegedly did not mention any illegal activity.

At the last minute, the trip was changed to Hong Kong, and then Los Angeles, and finally Bogota, the lawyer told 60 Minutes.

When she was finally told the trip was a ruse to get her to traffic drugs, Sainsbury refused to comply. But the criminal gang showed her pictures of her family and threatened to kill her and her loved ones, according to Herron.

“If you don’t get to fly, we will be threatening or killing your family or you,” he told 60 Minutes.

The 22-year-old has been detained in Bogota’s El Beun Pastor prison since 5.8kg of cocaine was allegedly found hidden inside 18 headphone boxes in her suitcase at El Dorado International Airport in April.

The Nine Network reported, based on the claim of an unnamed sex worker, that Sainsbury was a prostitute at a brothel in western Sydney, and lied about her mother’s death for financial gain.

Her defence team claimed she was going to back out of the smuggling arrangement at the last minute, but was threatened by a mystery man who showed her photos of her fiance and family and made demands that she had no choice but to comply with.

Sainsbury and her family had previously claimed she worked as a personal trainer, but according to 60 Minutes, from August to December last year she had been working as a “fly in fly out” sex worker at Club 220, a brothel near Penrith.

Meanwhile, in an interview with her fiancé Scott Broadbridge, Seven’s Sunday Night added to suspicions around Sainsbury’s backstory – a story she, through her lawyer, has now changed entirely.

According to Cassie’s original version of events, she travelled to Colombia for work with a cleaning company.

She claimed her uncle was the owner of the business before he sold the cleaning company to a mystery couple, known as Karen and June Dolshols, who paid for her trip to Colombia.

However, her uncle Neil Sainsbury, a former military police investigator, told Sunday Night he never owned a cleaning business.

“Cassie has a bit of a history of skipping from one place to the next when things get a bit tough,” Neil Sainsbury said.

Her father Stuart Sainsbury also cast doubt over his daughter’s original story, saying she and Broadbridge had planned her trip to Colombia since January this year.

This is in stark contrast to Cassie’s first story, that it was a last minute trip organised by the mysterious Dolshols.

Sainsbury’s fiancé, Broadbridge – who is being investigated by Australian Police – did not seem to know she had changed her story. He told Seven that his girlfriend had no idea the drugs were in her luggage.

“I don’t know if the business she worked for set her up from Colombia. But, you know, I believe, she was, you know, I guess, set up as a drug mule without her knowledge,” he said.

“I’m getting suspicion that there was possibly fake names given. I mean, I’ve done a lot of research and, you know, nothing has come up.

“I think maybe this was quite a long process. You know, close to a year in the making. Build Cassie’s trust up and then sent her to, you know, this country.”

He said he had no prior knowledge of Cassie’s trip to Colombia.

This story was first published by The New Daily.

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