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Journalist gets guilty verdict in drug sting

A local journalist was found guilty by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday of drug trafficking after being busted in a sting that saw him sell methamphetamine to an undercover police officer.

Judge Ros Piseth convicted 27-year-old Say Raza, a reporter for little-known newspaper Damnoeung Thmey, with drug trafficking and sentenced him to three years imprisonment.

Piseth said Raza sold two packets of methampetamine to an undercover cop on May 26 at a restaurant in the capital’s Russey Keo district. He was arrested immediately by police who were surrounding the area.

Raza’s lawyer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

During the trial, Raza maintained that the drugs did not belong to him, but that he had been paid to make the exchange on behalf of someone else.

“I was not a drug dealer,” he said. “They belonged to a man named Trach ... He hired me for the price of $20 to bring them to the man he said was his client.”

Following the verdict, Raza was sent back to Prey Sar prison, where he has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest.

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