A Zoom court heard hours of secret recordings Thursday capturing a York Regional Police constable and an undercover officer hashing out a constantly evolving, detail-oriented plot to rob a drug warehouse that only one of them knew was imaginary.
Richard Senior has pleaded not guilty to 14 corruption-related charges, including attempted robbery, theft and trafficking cocaine — which didn’t exist — and steroids. His legal team has indicated that if the judge finds him guilty, he will argue a defence of entrapment — meaning he was induced to commit crimes.
The intercepts played Thursday indicate a plan unfolded over several days in September 2018 after an undercover officer partnered up with Senior, who was then based in Markham. The pair are introduced to a second undercover officer, who dupes Senior into believing he is a drug dealer with information about a cache of guns, drugs and cash. Neither undercover officer can be identified.
Senior and his “partner,” referred to as UC1, are heard hatching their “operational plan” while chowing down on cheese omlettes, toast and bacon in a cop haunt called Big Sizzler, inside a police station, outside and strolling the aisles of Walmart looking for dark clothing and “silly string” to cover the lens of the surveillance cameras trained on the supposed stash.
“How does Walmart not have silly string,” Senior says at one point, after the pair has asked a store clerk for help finding it.
Punctuated with joking and ribald banter, the rip-off plan included needing work-issued shotguns, bullet proof vests, duffel bags for the contraband and zip-ties to bind anyone who might be on site. They discussed tactics to avoid detection and using a drone as counter-surveillance in case other police agencies are watching the warehouse. Many times both joked about the plot potentially going “sideways.”
“Yeah this some L.A.P.D. s— buddy some S.H.I.E.L.D s—, yeah fun and games,” Senior laughed during one lengthy exchange caught by a hidden microphone, presumably referring to a U.S. TV show about crooked cops.
Prosecutors Peter Scrutton and Mabel Lai allege that the intercepts indicate Senior was talking to real people about selling the cocaine he believed would be found inside the warehouse.
During one intercept played Thursday, Senior told UC1 that he had a potential buyer for the cocaine, at $32,000 a kilogram.
“This is a fire sale … these things are going for $50(,000),” he said, adding “I’m not trying to be greedy… it’s free f—ing money.”
Lai asked UC1 to clarify things about the interactions he had with Senior.
The officer said that one one occasion, he asked Senior if he had any qualms about what they were planning.
“His quotes to me was ‘my eye is not on the prize, it’s on the task,” the officer said.
The trial continues Friday.