Ryszard Wilk, returned to New Zealand in 2019 to face charges, has complained about other people constantly annoying him for money. Photo / Interpol
A confusing cast of characters including entities named Ginger, Baldie, J23 and Seraphim featured in the Bastion Point cocaine trial today.
But what seemed clear at the Court of Appeal in Auckland was how fear and anger came in, as some involved in the alleged drug ring complained of theft and treason.
Patryk Lukasz Lukasik, Ryszard Wilk and Aleksandr Cherushev pleaded not guilty to seven charges collectively when their trial began this week.
The Crown today frequently featured offensive exchanges allegedly involving Wilk, a Pole accused of aiding to supply drugs to Kiwi distributors in 2016.
One such exchange seemed to chronicle a stormy relationship Wilk had with a partner.
“There are so many lies with you. I’m not surprised that nothing works,” Wilk was told.
Jurors heard Wilk respond, “Go yourself. If you play with fire, you’ll burn. Shut your mouth. You’re a genetic error.”
Wilk is charged with supply, conspiracy to import and possession of cocaine, as well as conspiracy to import ecstasy between September 2016 and June 2017.
Jurors for several hours today were reading messages that police collected from sources including WhatsApp.
The court heard that police examined Wilk’s cell phone in April 2017, took about 800 WhatsApp messaging screenshots, and copied data from the iPhone Notes app.
Police also intercepted messages from the messaging programs Signal and Telegram.
In one WhatsApp message, Wilk complained, “F ***, everyone just wants money from me.”
According to a transcript, one of Wilk’s correspondents threatened to go to police.
“You dog fat,” Wilk replied. “Go to the police. Not so you can escape punishment.”
Wilk lamented that no one had asked him about his feelings, his appetite, or how he was coping after an earthquake.
Russian sailor Khrushchev is believed to have imported about 4 kg of cocaine as a chief officer on Discovery Bay, a container ship arriving from South America.
Prosecutors say Wilk and his son helped supply the drugs to New Zealand distributors during two short trips in September and November 2016.
The crown claimed that Lukasik, from Poland, also helped with money laundering.
The court today heard that Baldie had never been identified, and some people according to whom Wilk was allegedly related were known only by the nicknames Serafim and J23.
A person named Ginger was discussed several times in Wilk’s messages, and appeared to be someone with whom Wilk had a serious complaint about money.
Several messages involved debt disputes and allegations of theft.
The person known as J23 sent account details at Zachodni Bank in Poland and a request for Polish currency in 2016.
“Pay me 1500 zlotys, or they’ll lock me up for f ***,” Wilk was told.
Jurors heard Wilk at one point expressed concerns to his son Ralph.
“What’s going on?” He asked. There is no contact with you … Those Russians are also starting to threaten. “
In April 2017 Ryszard Wilk had to leave Auckland.
But jurors heard that $ 70,000 was found on him, and police seized his phone and investigated his messages.
The Crown claimed that these messages proved that Wilk had met with Khrushchev.
Wilk’s defense adviser, Annabel Ives, asked about shortcomings in messaging, saying it is possible the hundreds of screenshots were still missing some texts.
Prosecutors claimed people linked to the union hid money at Auckland Bastion Point, where police in 2017 found partially buried black garbage bags and 3.5 g of cocaine.
The court heard police track down members of the alleged rocket in central Auckland, observing meetings at a café and on a bench outside St Kevin’s Arcade.
Jurors heard police saw Wilk meet convicted money launderer Mohammed Khan near Aotea Square before Khan went to a Queen St. exchange shop.
The jury said alreadyano had already pleaded a $ 330,677.20 laundering.
People who lived or had ties with Moldova, Spain, Italy and Ecuador have also been linked to the alleged cocaine conspiracy at various times.
Lukasik, Wilk and Cherushev deny importing cocaine.
The process continues.
Further reporting: Miriam Burrell