Cassie Sainsbury in an interview with 60 Minutes. Picture: Supplied
Cassie Sainsbury in an interview with 60 Minutes. Picture: Supplied

Sainsbury's Colombian prison stay

South Australian, Cassie Sainsbury was caught with nearly 6kg of cocaine at Comombi'as El Dorado Airport. 

This is what happened to her next:

APRIL 2017

3rd - The Adelaide woman arrives in Colombia reportedly on an eight-day working holiday to promote her personal training.

12th - The 22-year-old is caught moments before she reaches Gate 32 at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport on her way to board a flight back to Australia.

Colombian narcotics police find 5.8kg of cocaine stuffed into 18 bags in headphones hidden in Sainsbury's luggage, after receiving a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

She is arrested and is detained at El Buen Pastor jail in Bogota - a prison notorious for its overcrowding and annual beauty pageants.

Authorities rush Sainsbury through a hearing and she is denied bail.


15th - She receives her first visit from fiance Scott Broadbridge, her mother Lisa Evans and sister Kahla Sainsbury in El Buen Pastor prison. They all believe Sainsbury was duped.

21st - Rivals 60 Minutes and Sunday Night both broadcast stories about Sainsbury on the same night - one with her mother and sister, and the other with her fiance.


She agrees to reveal the identities of those involved in the drug smuggling ring in exchange for a sentence that could be reduced from 20 to six years.

Her Colombian lawyers express concerns the plea deal could put Cassie and her family's lives at risk in South Australia if she reveals the identities of others involved in the drug cartel.

26th - Colombian judge Sergio Leon suspends a hearing on the plea deal after Cassie tells the court she only agreed to smuggle the cocaine under threat.


10th - The court rejects the plea deal Sainsbury struck with prosecutors. She now faces a full trial and the possibility of up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.


24th - In an interview with 60 Minutes, Sainsbury says proof she's innocent and her family's lives were threatened is on her mobile phone, which she can't unlock.

27th - Court date postponed because the Australian was not granted permission to leave the prison by Colombian prison authorities. Next hearing date set for October 20.


20th - Both sides agree to a plea deal, which specifies a maximum six-year jail term. Judge retires to consider the deal.


1st - Sainsbury is sentenced to six years behind bars and a $US90,000 fine after a judge rubber-stamps the plea deal. She could be released in April 2020 with good behaviour and time already served. Her lawyer indicates they are likely to appeal the fine.


A judge considers previously undisclosed evidence and possibly reducing her sentence. Sainsbury's mother Lisa visits Colombia to support her daughter as she prepares to appear in court.


13th - Sainsbury warns potential drug runners to think about the consequences of their actions. Talking on the Kyle and Jackie O Show she says "people need to really, really analyse the people they think they can trust."

14th - On KIIS FM, Sainsbury announces she called off her wedding with Scott Broadbridge after she broke up with him in February. She says it was "the best thing" for both of them.


21st - Sainsbury turns her life around in jail, seen smiling, healthy and teaching prisoners to speak English, according to The Advertiser and The Sunday Telegraph.


A new love blossomed in jail with Sainsbury announcing she's engaged to her fellow inmate Joslianinyer Pico.

APRIL 2020

17th - Sainsbury is released from El Buen Pastor women's prison in Bogota, cutting half of her six-year jail term.

Originally published as Sainsbury's Colombian prison stay