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The making of 'Cocaine Cassie' Sainsbury: Inside 27-year-old's HORRIFYING life as drug mule that began from Gumtree ad

Cassie Sainsbury claimed that during her time in Colombia, she was drugged, sexually assaulted, and imprisoned and that she was 'terrified'
'Cocaine Cassie' Sainsbury stated that a Sydney brothel introduced her to the world of drug trafficking (Screengrab of Sydney Morning Herald and 7 News Spotlight)
'Cocaine Cassie' Sainsbury stated that a Sydney brothel introduced her to the world of drug trafficking (Screengrab of Sydney Morning Herald and 7 News Spotlight)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA: Australian Cassie Sainsbury, also known as 'Cocaine Cassie' was inspired by a Gumtree ad that read, "Ladies, we want you," to work in a brothel and start a career in drug trafficking, which landed her a six-year prison sentence in Colombia. In April 2017, Sainsbury was detained at the Colombian airport of Bogota as she boarded a flight to London carrying 5.8kg of cocaine concealed in 18 headphone boxes inside her suitcase.

Before being released on parole in 2020 and making her long-awaited return to Australia in recent weeks, the then-22-year-old was imprisoned in one of the harshest prisons for women in Colombia, where she attempted suicide during her time there. Sainsbury found a job posting for a gentleman's club in Sydney in Gumtree after her personal training business failed. 


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'Did not know it was actually a brothel'

"I didn't realize it was actually a brothel, because it said 'gentleman's club', and so I imagined a bar," Sainsbury told 7 News Spotlight. She admits that being hired as an escort instead after being told she wasn't "reception material" was one of the worst things she had ever gone through. 

'I felt that she was actually trying to help me'

She claims that a brothel madam who noticed Sainsbury didn't enjoy "entertaining" customers introduced her to the world of organized crime. "She was a little bit sympathetic because, obviously, she realized there are people who like doing it and there are people who don't," Sainsbury stated. "She said she had a friend that was often looking for workers to do deliveries into Sydney and that he was easygoing, a good friend, reliable, trustworthy. I felt that she was actually trying to help me," she added.

'I was very naive'

Sainsbury claimed that part of her duties included traveling around Sydney and delivering "documents" to prominent businesses in the CBD. She claimed, however, that she had no idea that she was actually delivering cocaine, adding, "I was very naive."

'Confidential was the key word'

Sainsbury further said, "When I arrived at the building (of a delivery) the receptionist would take the package off me and put it into a pigeonhole." She claimed that she was delivering the papers to reputable establishments in the Sydney area, including an orthodontist. Sainsbury stated that she would work anywhere from two to fifteen jobs a week and earn between $100 and $150 per delivery. "Confidential was the key word," she said. Sainsbury's life, however, took a dark turn when she was asked to travel to London with another employee to pick up some paperwork. "We were told London, not Colombia," Sainsbury said.

'Something wasn't right'

When she boarded her flight and discovered she was going to Bogota, Colombia, rather than London, she first realized something wasn't right. Sainsbury stated, "I didn't know where Bogota was, I had to look it up. I was told everything was fine, that it was a minor hiccup and to do as I was told."

'Didn't know how to get home'

She felt as though the trip was going badly, and she knew she had to leave, but she wasn't sure how. She said, "I didn't know how to get home. I'd been told I was being followed, that if I didn't go through with it something would happen to me." Threats alone, however, were insufficient to keep Sainsbury in place. She went to a travel agency to find the cheapest flight home because she was determined to get away. 

'I was terrified'

Sainsbury claimed that during her time in Colombia, she was drugged, sexually assaulted, and imprisoned. She alleges that the person who sexually assaulted her also packed her luggage for the flight to London. She said, "I think that's what makes it worse. I knew what was going on but I couldn't do anything. I wasn't left alone...I was terrified." She added, "I knew what was in it, I didn't know another way out."

'Headphones were rolls of cocaine'

Sainsbury talked about passing through airport security, feeling relieved after checking her bag, and then experiencing terror after hearing her name announced over the loudspeakers at the flight gates. Four police officers, according to her, met her and led her into a room with 18 headphone cases spread out on a table. She at first felt relieved, believing there was a possibility that she was only smuggling electronics. She said, "Stupid me didn't think in the packets of headphones were rolls of cocaine."

'22-year-old Cassie received a 6-year prison sentence'

She informed the Australian Federal Police about the link between the Sydney brothel and the cocaine cartel, but they chose not to look into it. Sainsbury's submission and the lack of a follow-up investigation were both confirmed by the AFP to Seven. Sainsbury received a six-year prison sentence when she was just 22 years old. She claims that her experience in jail will follow her forever. 

'Sainsbury attempted to commit suicide'

"It was horrible, I saw people die," she stated. "I saw people get stabbed, I saw people hang themselves." Sainsbury eventually attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of the prison after feeling "helpless" there for a while. She was about to fall over when another prisoner grabbed her and told her not to give up. "When I went to take the step off, I felt someone pull me back," Sainsbury stated. "She told me off. She basically said that there's light at the end of the tunnel." Fortunately, Sainsbury survived her time in jail, and after her release, she was able to meet Tatiana, the love of her life.

The couple married on a private island five months ago, and Tatiana's family accepted Sainsbury. "They were actually really easygoing ... I treat Tatiana well, I’m loyal to her, and they said as long as I looked after their daughter, that was basically (it)," Sainsbury stated. She also claimed that Tatiana was understanding of her criminal history when the two started dating in the middle of last year. "She told me that it was my past and that she couldn’t judge me on my past because everybody has a past," Sainsbury said.


Sainsbury also shared a final message saying that she’s changed a lot. She stated, "Having been so scared and gone through what I’d gone through is what made me realize that I can’t be scared, that I can stand up for myself. And I learned to do it." She added, "I’m not the scared little person that I was six years ago."