After a police raid this week netted about 300 grams of illicit drugs and other chemicals at a Phnom Penh condo, 45 suspects were being held by authorities and tested for drugs on Thursday, a police official said.
The detained included Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian nationals, all of whom had tested negative for Covid-19 and were now being tested for illegal drugs, after police confiscated about 284 grams of ketamine, ecstasy and an unidentified liquid substance, which authorities were also testing, Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesperson San Sokseyha said.
Police raided the condominium in Boeng Keng Kang district’s Boeng Keng Kang II commune on Tuesday at 12 p.m., in connection with drug trafficking and use, Sokseyha said. Authorities originally arrested 60 people but released 15 who were found not to be involved, the spokesperson said.
The suspects, including 10 Cambodians, were being held at Phnom Penh police headquarters, he said.
Last week, capital authorities also arrested two Chinese men, aged 40 and 58, on charges of drug trafficking and possession, and confiscated about 70 kg of illegal drugs worth more than $1 million, deputy National Police chief Mok Chito said on Sunday.
Police seized more than 52 kg of MDMA, or ecstasy, over 17 kg of heroin and about 12 grams of crystal methamphetamine, Chito said.
“They brought [the drugs] from Laos through Cambodia and were ready to traffic to Vietnam, but we knew in advance,” he said, adding that police were looking for other suspects.
Meas Sovann, president of the Drug Addict Relief Association of Cambodia, encouraged authorities to find drug trafficking ringleaders and strengthen law enforcement efforts.
“As a suggestion, [police] need to strictly enforce and find relevant people. If we arrest [these two] and do not continue to search for the mastermind, other subordinates will continue trafficking,” Sovann said.
Last year, Cambodian authorities seized 3 tons of illicit drugs, and as of May 16 had confiscated nearly 1 ton, with seizures down by 30 percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to Chito.
The government has carried out an anti-drug campaign aimed at cutting drug use and trafficking in recent years, but in a report last year, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said prices of crystal methamphetamine and meth tablets have dropped to their “lowest level on record,” while the drugs’ average purity and amounts seized by authorities have risen, signaling increased supply in the region.
Additional reporting by Ouch Sony
(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)