Arrest pictures emerge as accused drug mule warned of cartel payback

The Adelaide woman locked up in an overcrowded Colombian prison has been told by her lawyer to consider pleading guilty to her drug smuggling charges to avoid a 25-year sentence.

Cassie Sainsbury, 22, was arrested for allegedly carrying 5.8kg of cocaine concealed in her luggage, as she tried to fly home to Australia on April 11 from El Dorado International Airport in Bogota.

Seven News has now released exclusive new images of the young personal trainer, showing 18 piles of cocaine hidden in pre-wrapped boxes that Cassie claims she thought were headphones, planned as gifts for her upcoming bridal party.

Her lawyer has now advised the terrified Australian that pleading guilty to the charges could see her walk free in four years, even though she and her family have adamantly maintained her innocence.

Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota. Source: 7 News
Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota. Source: 7 News
Nearly six kilograms of cocaine was allegedly discovered in the 22-year-old's luggage. Source: 7 News
Nearly six kilograms of cocaine was allegedly discovered in the 22-year-old's luggage. Source: 7 News

Now surrounded by murderers and convicted drug smugglers, Cassie has begged her family to get her out of the hugely overcrowded El Buen Pastor Prison that homes more than 50,000 other criminals.

“I didn't do it mum, you’ve got to get me out,” a devastated Cassie told her mother, Lisa Evans.

The author of award winning novel Marching Powder, Rusty Young, said the prison was a living nightmare.

"It's a pretty horrific place to be, there is massive levels of overcrowding inside that prison," he told 7 News.

Colombian police allege that 5.8 kilograms of cocaine were found in headphone sets packed in Cassie's luggage. Source: 7 News
Colombian police allege that 5.8 kilograms of cocaine were found in headphone sets packed in Cassie's luggage. Source: 7 News
El Buen Pator prison is home to countless murderers and drug smugglers. Source: Reuters
El Buen Pator prison is home to countless murderers and drug smugglers. Source: Reuters


Risk of cartel retaliation

Meanwhile Australian lawyers now fear Cassie’s vocal family is putting her in danger.

They advised her mother not to make anymore public comments and to remove the crowdfunding page asking for donations.

"Cassie is possibly facing 20-25 yrs in prison for a crime she did not commit," Khala wrote on the FundRazr page.

The Colombian prison is considered grossly overcrowded with more than 50,000 inmates. Source: Reuters
The Colombian prison is considered grossly overcrowded with more than 50,000 inmates. Source: Reuters
Her parents insist the 22-year-old is innocent. Source: 7 News
Her parents insist the 22-year-old is innocent. Source: 7 News

"We are currently facing expensive legal fees, ang (sic) trying to support Cassie as much as we can, but is hard as we have little money."

The page has since raised $4,200 of their $15,000 goal.

Four cartels run the cocaine market in Colombia and the last thing wanted is to draw unnecessary attention to the Moana local while locked up in the South American jail.

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