The past life of accused Adelaide drug mule Cassie Sainsbury involved a failed business venture and a debt that spiraled into tens of thousands of dollars, according to those who knew her.
7 News has uncovered details of Ms Sainsbury’s past, with claims she owes tens of thousands of dollars from a failed gym on the Yorke Peninsula.
Residents claimed she had opened the business two years ago, before vanishing and leaving behind a trail of debt.
The gym was open for little more than six months in 2015 and charged $800 a year for membership.
But one day, the doors were locked and didn’t reopen.
It’s claimed a former boyfriend had contributed thousands of dollars towards equipment for the gym, and is still out of pocket.
Ms Sainsbury is currently negotiating a deal in Bogota, that will result in her pleading guilty.
She allegedly tried to return to Australia with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a series of headphones that she claimed were presents for an upcoming bridal party.
If the outcome goes her way, she could be locked up for as little as two years, or may even be allowed to serve home detention.
7 News understands Ms Sainsbury, 22, is expected to face court in coming weeks, with a final outcome months away.
If she does not plead guilty, it could delay her case by at least two years and result in up to 20 years jail.
Ms Sainsbury’s lawyer told 7 News British and Australian police were now involved, apparently investigating whether she was part of an international network.
The Australian Federal Police have refused to confirm their involvement in the investigation.
A local florist told 7 News Ms Sainsbury had “disappeared basically overnight” from Adelaide and it was “a shock” to the community.
In Warooka, Ms Sainbury’s father refused to comment on his daughter's arrest.
Her former teacher Rick Hutchinson described her as “a lovely girl” and said it was a pity to see her in such a predicament.
Ms Sainsbury’s family said she was on a working holiday, however working visas in Colombia require Australian���s to prove they have a skill set Colombian’s don’t.
Her Instagram showed she had travelled on an ‘all expenses paid work trip’ to Canada in January.
This was followed by a separate trip to China.