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Suspects finger ‘Candy’ man

6 Varangkana Phomdee

Two Thai women charged with smuggling more than three kilograms of cocaine into the country yesterday denied the charges leveled against them and told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court they were unwitting drug mules.

The women – Varangkana Phomdee, 29, and Tangboo Ketkarn, 31 – are being charged with drug trafficking under Cambodia’s Anti-Drug Law for smuggling the drugs into the country from Ecuador last August, said presiding judge Sous Sam Ath.

“Varangkana Phomdee was arrested by anti-drug police forces at Phnom Penh International Airport,” said Sam Ath, adding that her luggage contained six packages of cocaine.

Sam Ath said Tangboo was later arrested based on the testimony of Varangkana, obtained during a police interrogation.

During their court hearing yesterday, the women said they were hired by a Nigerian man named “Candy” living in Thailand.

Varangkana said she was paid $3,000 by Candy to bring the drugs from Ecuador to Cambodia; Candy also made all her travel arrangements.

“I was not the owner of these drugs, they belong to Mr Candy, who is now in Bangkok,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was carrying was drugs.”

Tangboo then told the court she was paid $2,000 to transport the goods from Cambodia into Thailand. She had travelled across the border to pick up the suitcase from Varangkana.

“I am not a drug trafficker or have any relation to do with the drugs seized,” Tangboo said. “I would like to ask the court to release me.”

But Ly Sophana, vice prosecutor at the municipal court, urged the court to maintain the charges and punish the suspects according to the law.

The verdict will be handed down June 21.

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