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AustraliaThe black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs

23:15  09 june  2019
23:15  09 june  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs © SMH Philip Ian Bishop leaves the Downing Centre courts.

Workers at the Chess Moving container yard in Blacktown may have been familiar with big trucks carrying 40-foot shipping containers by day - but some were accustomed to something a little fancier after hours.

The trial of four men accused of involvement in the importation of $1.5 billion of ice and ecstasy has heard that one of the accused, Philip Ian Bishop, a Chess sales manager, drove a black Maserati to work, a Crown witness alleged.

Another Chess executive, Cameron VanCuylenberg, the son of the firm’s owner, drove “a rather flash looking Jaguar convertible”, bearing personalised ‘CV’ number plates, counsel for Mr Bishop told the jury.

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The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs © Supplied Cameron VanCuylenberg had a $2000 per month car allowance and drove a Jaguar.

Each man was entitled to a $2000 a month “car allowance”, the court heard.

Mr VanCuylenberg confirmed the amount was “thereabouts”.

The District Court trial of Mr Bishop, and his co-accused Mehmet Ozgen, Jason Drollet and Solomone Vukici, on Friday examined events leading up to the arrival of a container from Germany containing boxes filled with ice and ecstasy at Chess at around 9pm on November 27, 2014.

The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs © SMH Cameron VanCuylenberg outside the Downing Centre on Friday.

Prosecutors were keen to explore who was on site when the container arrived, how they gained entry, who knew when alarms were switched off and why some CCTV cameras were not working.

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Chess was a family affair, the court heard. Chris VanCuylenberg founded and owned it, his brother Lui ran operations, and another brother Lindsey drove a truck as a contractor. The boss’s son Cameron was an executive who doubled in truck driving.

In addition, Mr Bishop was married to the owner's daughter, although they had separated by 2014.

The court heard that on the day in question, Lindsey VanCuylenberg picked up a container like any other from Port Botany at around 7pm and delivered it to Blacktown. Police were watching the container after drugs were detected in it on the docks a week earlier.

The jury heard that when he arrived at Chess, Lindsey VanCuylenberg saw forklift operator Deo Narayan still on site, meaning Mr Narayan could unload the container, allowing the truck driver to leave at around 9:15pm.

The court has heard Mr Narayan had previously been given a blue plastic bag containing $10,000 by a man calling himself ‘Jason’ to make the container accessible. (The Crown does not suggest that the accused Jason Drollet is the ‘Jason’ in question).

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Access was delayed a day when Mr Narayan stacked the container with its doors jammed against another container. Mr Narayan, who has agreed to testify in return for immunity, and Mr Bishop later claimed they had been threatened and agreed to make the container accessible. Text messages sent to the phone of one of the accused say 'Deo' was to receive another $40,000.

The jury heard from Chess warehouse manager Rudi Wendt who said he had left the depot at 7:15pm on November 28 and had seen Mr Bishop’s black Maserati parked outside although he had not seen Mr Bishop. He said he was “half asleep” at home when security called at 1:30am to report an alarm had been triggered.

“Did you tell them to disregard that problem for the night,” Crown prosecutor David Staehli, SC, asked. “That’s correct,” Mr Wendt replied.

Lui VanCuylenberg, the operations manager, gave evidence he never noticed security vision from CCTV cameras not working in the days before the container arrived.

Six men, including Mr Ozgen, Mr Drollet and Mr Vukici, allegedly arrived and unloaded the boxes on November 28, heading to a Smithfield industrial unit to unpack them. Gate access data showed Mr Bishop's card was used to enter and exit Chess either side of midnight.

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Questions in court turned to the aftermath of a police drug bust early in the morning of Saturday November 29. On the Monday morning, a meeting was held in Chess boss Chris VanCuylenberg's office.

The court heard that forklift driver Deo Narayan told Chess executives he had been offered $10,000 to make a container accessible and he was threatened.

Lui VanCuylenberg was asked in court about any mention at that meeting by Mr Narayan of a conversation with someone else “about the boss’s son”, Cameron VanCuylenberg.

According to Lui VanCuylenberg, Mr Narayan said: “Don’t worry, the boss’s son has been taking care of this.”

The Crown later asked Cameron VanCuylenberg if he had any connection with a person who was trying to get illegal access to the container. “No,” he replied.

The trial before Judge John Pickering continues.

Pictures: Australia's most notorious figures

The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
The black Maserati, the 'flash' Jaguar and a shipping container of drugs
Read more

Feds seize 16.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $1BILLION from cargo ship in Philadelphia bound for Europe.
The drugs were seized on Tuesday at the Packer Marine Terminal from cargo containers aboard the MSC Gayane, which arrived there on Monday after making a port call in Colombia on May 19. In between, the Liberian-flagged ship also made stops in Peru, Panama and the Bahamas, shipping records show. Members of the ship's crew were arrested and federally charged, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania.

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