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Accused cocaine supplier busted with $70,000 at airport, jury hears

Cash amounting to $70,000 scattered throughout the luggage of an accused cocaine supplier was seized by a Customs officer as the man tried to flee New Zealand, a jury has heard.

Ryszard Wilk is one of three men on trial at the High Court in Auckland charged with importation of 4kg of the class A drug in 2016, as part of an alleged international drug syndicate.

He has also denied possession and supply of cocaine, conspiring to import cocaine and conspiring to import MDMA.

Wilk was approached at Auckland International Airport in April 2017 before his flight.
The Polish national was unaware police had already secretly searched his luggage in hotels rooms during his stay.

He was in possession of significant sums of cash, hidden in plastic bags and locked in suitcases, the Crown alleges.

Suspicion was raised after Wilk and his son Ralph, who has pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine, visited New Zealand for two short trips in September and November 2016.

Customs officer Simon Jamieson confronted Wilk at the airport with a drug dog. Wilk claimed he had US$10,000 cash on him.

But large amounts of cash in a number of currencies were discovered scattered throughout his luggage, Jamieson said while giving evidence today.

There was an assortment of NZ$2430, £20, zł1430, AU$400, €13,580 and US$33,200 in cash.

Wilk told the detective the money was for a cruise around Polynesia.

The cash was seized along with his mobile phone, which was later forensically examined.
Some of the text message found on the device by police have been read to the jury.

Patryk Lukasz Lukasik, Ryszard Wilk and Aleksandr Cherushev pleaded not guilty to seven charges collectively when the trial began on Monday.

International drug syndicate

The Crown alleges Russian sailor Cherushev imported about 4kg of cocaine into Auckland in September 2016 on board Discovery Bay, a container ship arriving from South America.

Polish man Wilk and his son Ralph helped to supply the drugs to New Zealand-based distributors over two short trips in September and November 2016, the Crown claims, while attempting to smuggle back cash for themselves.

A meeting between the trio was held at the New World carpark in Mount Maunganui it is alleged, before Cherushev departed from the Tauranga Port.

The Wilks were aided by a third Polish man, Lukasik, who helped with money laundering, the jury heard.

The trial before Justice Tracey Walker continues next week.


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