Five foreign men and a Cambodian woman were yesterday convicted of trafficking methamphetamines, sentenced to jail and each fined 10 million riels [US$2500] following a raid on a house in Phnom Penh last year.
Hong Menea /Phnom Penh Post
Two of the five men convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to prison yesterday morning are led out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Two Guinean men, Bah Mamadou, 23, and Nabe Alhassane, 34, and Sierra Leonean James Kamara, also known as Calim, 34, were sentenced in Phnom Penh Municipal Court to seven years in prison, while two Nigerian men, Obieze Keneth Uche, 35, and Emeka Obi, 38, and Cambodian woman Hou Vanna, 31, James Kamara’s girlfriend, were sentenced to five years.
The six were arrested on July 24 last year at Kamara and Hou Vanna’s rental house in Tuol Kork district’s Teuk La’ak III commune and charged with smuggling about 340 grams of methamphetamines from Vietnam to Phnom Penh.
Chith Chantha, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug trafficking police, said the five foreign suspects were members of an international drug syndicate and had been trying to lie low in Cambodia.
US police based in Bangkok had informed Cambodia’s anti-drug police that the five men were drug traffickers, he said.
“They were arrested while they were exchanging drugs inside their rental house,” Chith Chantha said.
Police seized a package containing 339.9 grams of methamphetamines in the form of ya ma, as well as three mobile phones, scales and other drug-related materials while making the arrests.
None of the convicted drug traffickers or their lawyers could be reached for comment yesterday; however, during their trials on January 17, they had denied the charges.Kamara told the court during that hearing that he had not known that the drugs seized had been hidden in his house and suspected he had been set up.
“I was aware of this only when I was handcuffed by police and they showed it to me,” he said.