Thirty tonnes of chemicals that can be used in the production of illegal drugs were seized yesterday in Kandal province by Interior Ministry officials.
Brigadier General Long Sreng, deputy director of the anti-economic crimes department, said yesterday that a Chinese national had been detained in the raid.
“These chemical precursors were imported from China without a licence,” he said. “We closed the warehouse temporarily for further inspection.”
He added that while the chemicals were also used to make a number of household products, they could be used as precursors to manufacture drugs.
Since a number of raids in 2006 uncovered vast methamphetamine production facilities, Cambodia is thought to have begun to transition from a role as a drug trafficking route to a centre of production.
Further raids on drugs labs in recent years have uncovered evidence that Cambodia is moving into drug production and experimentation, with some narcotics destined for foreign markets, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the US State Department.
The drugs are often transported over land or smuggled in ship containers, according to the UNODC.
Kandal provincial police commissioner Eav Chamroeun said the suspect had rented property in Sa’ang district’s Svay Rolum commune to be used as a delivery hub.
He added that the precursors could be used to make a number of household items, such as shampoo and vinegar, but in this case, the arrest had been made because the importer was operating without a licence.
“This is the first case in our province [this year],” he said. “Police forces and the prosecutor have cooperated for the raid and the suspect was sent to [the] Interior Ministry.”
Kandal Provincial Court is due to file official charges against the suspect today.