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Foreign nationals held in drug raid

Anti-drug police officers arrested nine foreign nationals in a sting on a rental house on Sunday, accusing the men of involvement in a drug-trafficking ring catering to other foreigners in the vicinity of Phnom Penh’s Central Market, police said yesterday.

Colonel Khim Sarann, the chief of police in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, said that nine Nigerian men had been arrested on Sunday night by anti-drug police from the Ministry of Interior in a sweep that netted more than half a kilogram of methamphetamines.

“They were arrested when our police raided their rental apartment in Por Sen Chey district’s Choam Chao commune on Sunday night,” Sarann told the Post yesterday.

“They were accused of drug trafficking in Cambodia,” he added. “They now have been sent to be temporarily detained at the Ministry of Interior for questioning and further research.”

Captain Sok Dareth, a police officer working with the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Police Unit, said that the bust was the result of an undercover operation that began after police became aware of the group’s alleged dealings in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district near the Central Market, or Phsar Thmey.

After catching wind of the alleged activities, he continued, undercover officers made contact with the suspects and subsequently attempted to set up a drug deal.

“These Nigerian men were drug distributors hiding in Phnom Penh. Our undercover police found out about them after they always brought drugs to sell to foreign people and other drug users in the Phsar Thmey area, in Daun Penh district,” Dareth said.

“In order to identify them and arrest them, our undercover police contacted them and demanded to buy one kilogram of drugs from them, but they said that they had only half a kilogram,” he added.

Undercover officers remained in contact with the suspects for about three weeks, continuing to try to set up a one-kilo meth deal, Dareth said. During that time, police were able to work out the identities and addresses of the suspects.

At about 8:30pm on Sunday night, Dareth said, police raided the suspects’ apartment in Por Sen Chey, seizing more than half a kilogram of methamphetamine, two small packages of marijuana and two large packages containing an as-yet-unidentified white powder also believed to be drug-related. Police also confiscated various paraphernalia, two cars and three motorbikes.

General Khieu Saman, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Department, could not be reached for comment.



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