Accused drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury has been sentenced to six years in Colombian prison, after a judge accepted a plea deal which states the South Australian was threatened into transporting nearly 6kg of cocaine.
As a best-case scenario, she could return to home in two-and-a-half years for good behaviour behind bars.
Sainsbury, 22, initially faced a prison sentence of up to 30 years behind bars for her involvement in the April incident, which saw her arrested at Bogota airport.
Inititally, Sainsbury stated she believed to be carrying several sets of headphones purchased as presents from a local in Colombia, and that she had no knowledge of the drugs.
That story changed. Sainsbury later claimed she agreed to transport a set of ‘documents’ to the UK at the behest of a man named Angelo, who deceived her into carrying the drugs and threatened her family.
Sainsbury’s lawyer Orlando Herran claims the court accepted the claim that she was a victim in the incident, and that it was possible she was used as a “distraction” while the drug syndicate responsible conducted further smuggling operations.
People in Sainsbury’s situation are “victims of deceit, victims of their own socio-economic conditions and victims of ignorance regarding Colombian law,” Herran said.
Herran also claimed Sainsbury could have been granted a shorter sentence if she had immediately sought help from the authorities, instead of initially claiming ignorance of the cocaine in her possession.
Sainsbury was also ordered to pay a fine equating to $130,000.