An alleged drug smuggler who described himself as ‘The Black Prince’ in letters written from prison has denied that he ‘tricked’ an Olympian’s brother into helping him pick up a huge load of cocaine.
During testimony before the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday, it was suggested that Anthony Draper Dru would “essentially kidnap” Anthony Baggaley for the hairdresser.
He denied this and insisted that they were in the plot together, but admitted to writing letters from prison to Dru Baggaley saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you.”
“I want to fix this and tell the police the truth, you thought it was tobacco,” read one of the other letters.
However, he told the court that he had written letters because he was ‘under duress’ and ‘standing up’ in prison.
Draper piloted the small boat reportedly used to collect 650 kg of cocaine – worth between $ 100 million and $ 200 million – hundreds of miles off the coast of NSW from a foreign ship.
Dru Anthony Baggaley (left) and Anthony Draper (right) are seen on the ship with navy personnel while under arrest for alleged drug smuggling
Olympic kayak silver medalist Nathan Jon Baggaley, 45, and his brother Dru, 39, are being tried and charged with attempting to import the cocaine.
Draper and Dru Baggaley are said to have thrown the drugs overboard when the Navy caught up with them. Draper previously told the court that he initially thought they were being attacked by pirates.
Dru Baggaley’s lawyer, Mark McCarthy, described letters Draper wrote to Baggaley while in custody, in which he wrote, “Don’t talk to the police, these guys will kill us.”
“I think I’m going to tell the Australian Federal Police everything I need to do to get out of jail and this shit.”
In part of another letter, Draper wrote to Baggaley, “I had no choice, people told me I couldn’t tell you it wasn’t tobacco.”
McCarthy put it in court to Draper that what he wrote was a true statement.
“I only wrote it because I had to,” Draper replied.
Dru Baggaley, 39, is accused of being involved in a plan to get 650 kg of cocaine – worth between $ 100 million and $ 200 million – from a foreign ship hundreds of miles off the coast of NSW
Black bags filled with nearly 650 kg of cocaine worth a whopping $ 200 million were seized
He also denied McCarthy’s suggestion that he would ‘trick’ Baggaley into the mission because he needed his help to navigate out of the Brunswick River estuary in northern NSW.
The court previously heard that Draper testified as part of a pledge made when he received a reduced sentence in previous court proceedings.
Also in previous testimonials, Draper, 56, told the court that he flew from Sydney to Coolangatta on July 30, 2018, at the request of Dru Baggaley.
The couple got on the boat at Brunswick Heads, while Draper thought they would go a few miles offshore to pick up ‘smoko’ that he thought was marijuana, the court heard.
Dru Baggaley was seasick as they sailed out to sea at night, Draper said.
In the morning they met a ‘big red boat’ on which Draper saw ‘South American people’, some with guns.
He and Dru Baggley loaded a “substantial” number of black parcels thrown from the larger ship onto the boat, he told the court on Wednesday.
The view from the navy boat of Anthony Draper and Dru Baggley
Dru Baggaley seen on the small ship while the navy wins him
While Draper shouted ‘no more pot’ because there may be ‘too much’ for the small boat, the foreign men called ‘cocoa’.
When asked about the contents of the heavy packages, Dru Baggaley said, “Don’t worry, just keep loading it in the boat,” Draper told the court.
As they returned to the mainland, the couple saw a plane and then a boat. At first, Dru Baggaley told him to “just keep going,” but when the Navy patrol boat was right behind them, they threw packages into the sea.
“I fucked myself … At first I thought we were going to be robbed, I thought they were pirates,” said Draper.
Olympic silver medalist and world champion kayaker Nathan Jon Baggaley is also accused of participating in the plan
In the bag were packets of cocaine with the Superman logo printed on it
The prosecution alleges that Nathan Baggaley also played a “key role” in the import, saying he bought the small boat for $ 100,000, got it ready, and covered the registration number for the voyage to sea with heavy black tape.
A total of 587 kg of cocaine was recovered by the navy, but months after the alleged smuggling attempt, bundles were still recovered on the coast, prosecutor Ben Power said.
Nathan Baggaley’s lawyer, Anthony Kimmins, told the court that the prosecution’s case against his client was based on circumstantial evidence that did not prove that he was involved in the alleged attempt to import the cocaine.
The men both pleaded not guilty to a single attempt to import a commercial amount of cocaine into Queensland in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast between December 2017 and August 2018.
The jury process will continue before Judge Ann Lyons.