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Local journalist tried over alleged drug deal

A reporter for a local newspaper was tried yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on drug-dealing charges stemming from an alleged transaction carried out in May.

Presiding judge Ros Piseth said that Say Raza, 27, a reporter for the little-known Damnoeung Thmey newspaper, was charged with drug trafficking under Article 40 of the Law on Control of Drugs.

Raza was caught in a sting operation allegedly selling two small packages of methamphetamine to undercover police officers in Russey Keo district on May 26 at a restaurant in the district’s Kilometre 6 commune.

“He was arrested after he sold drugs to undercover police,” Piseth said yesterday.

Police seized a total of only 1.2 grams of the stimulant, he added.

Raza confessed to selling the two packages of meth to the police officers, adding that the drugs had belonged to another man he named as “Trach”.

“He hired me for $20 to give [the drugs] to an unidentified client,” Raza said. “I was not a drug dealer. I want to ask the court to drop the charges and release me.”

A verdict is due on December 18.

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