‘Give us names or pay the price’ is the ultimatum Colombian authorities have reportedly given Cassie Sainsbury in relation to cocaine drug trafficking charges.
The Advertiser reports authorities are refusing to accept a plea deal unless the Adelaide-born personal trainer gives up names of the people who allegedly supplied her with the 5.8kg of cocaine found in her luggage at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota on April 11.
The 22-year-old, who has maintained her innocence since her arrest, is facing a maximum sentence of 30 years in Bogota’s El Buen Pastor women’s prison if convicted.
On the flip side, if she she pleads guilty and provides the names of the alleged drug suppliers, her sentence could be reduced to four years.
But there’s a catch. Because while this plea bargain would see Ms Sainsbury placed under witness protection for life, dobbing in names could put her in extreme danger of retaliation from the alleged drug cartel involved.
Ms Sainsbury’s Bogota lawyer, Orlando Herran confirmed to The Advertiser they would attempt to negotiate the plea deal ahead of the second of four hearings scheduled to take place before they go to trial.
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Initially, Ms Sainsbury claimed she did not know that drugs were inside the boxes of 18 pairs of headphones she said she had bought from a ‘friend’ in Colombia.
However, Mr Herran later told 60 Minutes Ms Sainsbury, whose gym business was in financial trouble, was forced into transporting the drugs after threats against her family were made.