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Secret recordings snare trio behind £76k Poland-to-Jersey drugs bid

Secret recordings snare trio behind £76k Poland-to-Jersey drugs bid

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Secret recordings snare trio behind £76k Poland-to-Jersey drugs bid

Tuesday 21 March 2023

A Police operation which saw three men's conversations about their plans to smuggle drugs worth £76,000 into Jersey recorded on covert listening devices has led the trio to be jailed for a total of 22 years.

Between May and December last year, Maciej Cholewinski (32), Patryk Ciejka (30) and 30-year-old Mateusz Wierzbicki imported cocaine, amphetamine and chloromethcathinone, a class B drug, into the island from their native Poland.

The trio were arrested in December after the Police launched a surveillance operation, and they all admitted a charge of conspiracy to import drugs.

Advocate Simon Crowder, prosecuting, yesterday told the Superior Number of the Royal Court, which convenes for Jersey's most serious cases, that covert listening devices recorded conversations between the men.

"They were discussing the importation of drugs, their prices in Poland, and what they could be sold for in Jersey," he said.

Royal Court

Pictured: The case was heard in the Royal Court yesterday.

Advocate Crowder said the high-purity cocaine could have had a street value of between £30,000 and £50,000, the chloromethcathinone could have sold for between £11,000 and £25,000 and the amphetamine would have been worth £900 to £1,000.

Drug paraphernalia including digital scales and resealable plastic bags were also recovered from their homes.

Advocate Crowder accepted that all three pleaded guilty early, but said that owing to the weight of the evidence their admissions were "almost inevitable".

The Royal Court heard that Cholewinksi had previous convictions for smuggling class C drugs into Jersey, while Wierzbicki had previous convictions that were not drug-related and Ciejka was said to have been of previous good character. They were all considered at moderate risk of reconviction.

Advocate Crowder recommended sentences of nine years each for Cholewinski and Wierzbicki and eight years for Ciejka, and said they should be recommended for deportation after serving their sentences.

Advocate Rebecca Morley-Kirk, defending Cholewinski, said her client accepted that importing drugs had been "a stupid decision" but pointed out: "The drugs would only have been sold to adult males, and not to anyone with vulnerabilities."

His previous drug conviction, she added, was for importing testosterone for his own use.

Advocate Mike Preston, defending Ciejka, said his client had ended up with gambling debts and only engaged in the crime to pay them. He said: "He did not consider the consequences and is deeply sorry."

Advocate Allana Binnie, defending Wierzbicki, said her client needed the money to support his mother, who was undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition, with a letter from a hospital in Poland confirming that claim.

She added: "There was real value in his guilty plea and he hasn't been given enough credit for that."

All defence advocates argued against deportation because of the impact it would have on innocent people such as their partners or family members. Cholewinski and Wierzbicki were each jailed for seven-and-a-half years and have been recommended for deportation. Ciejka was jailed for seven years, but no deportation order was made.

Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae was presiding and sitting alongside Jurats Jane Ronge, Robert Christensen, Karen Le Cornu, Andrew Cornish and Michael Entwistle were presiding.

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