Inside notorious Colombian prison holding Adelaide woman for alleged cocaine smuggling

What was supposed to be a dream overseas holiday for a young Adelaide woman has ended in a notorious overcrowded Colombian prison.

Cassie Sainsbury, 22, is facing up to 25 years in jail after being arrested for allegedly carrying 5.8kg of cocaine concealed in her luggage as she tried to fly home to Australia on April 11 from at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota.

Far from her fast-paced Adelaide lifestyle, the personal trainer is now locked up with murderers, drug smugglers and petty criminals in the bullet-riddled El Buen Pastor prison.

As Seven News reported, a terrified Ms Sainsbury has begged her family to get her out of the hugely overcrowded prison that homes more than 50,000 other criminals.

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

El Buen Pator prison is also famous for their unconventional in-house beauty pageants that are reportedly plagued by corruption and blackmail.

"She’s just so scared that she’s caught up on the other side of the world for something she didn’t do with no support," her mother Lisa Evans told 7 News.

The bride-to-be insists the drugs were hidden in gifts she bought in Colombia for her bridal party.

Her family back in Adelaide reiterated that message, claiming she had been “set up”.

The Adelaide personal trainer is now locked up in a massively overcrowded Colombian prison.
The Adelaide personal trainer is now locked up in a massively overcrowded Colombian prison.
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
Every September the prison hosts bizarre beauty pageants that are reportedly riddled with corruption. Source: Reuters
Every September the prison hosts bizarre beauty pageants that are reportedly riddled with corruption. Source: Reuters

Ms Sainsbury is due to face court in Colombia in coming months but in the meantime she will remain firmly locked away in the congested South American prison.

Her family and friends have since started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for growing legal bills.

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

"Our hearts break, because we know she is innocent, but stands little chance of proving it in such a corrupt country.

Cassie faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty. Source: Reuters
Cassie faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty. Source: Reuters

"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 cocaine was reportedly hidden inside headphones Ms Sainsbury bought before her departure.

Her sister said Cassie arrived in Colombia on April 3 on a trip to promote personal training and wanted to buy headphones to give as gifts for her wedding party.

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