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Three kilos of meth seized in airport bust

An Indian woman is being held in Siem Reap’s provincial prison after police arrested her while allegedly attempting to smuggle more than three kilograms of methamphetamine through Siem Reap International Airport.

Judith Pudaite, 30, was charged in Siem Reap Provincial Court on Friday with keeping, transporting and trafficking drugs, Siem Reap Provincial Anti-Drug Police’s chief, Major Oum Sa Ath, said.

Police arrested Pudaite on Thursday at 9:40am, Sa Ath said. The suspect allegedly flew from India to Siem Reap, where a connecting flight would take her to Singapore.

“She was arrested at Siem Reap International Airport when police checked her luggage and found that there was a big package of drugs hidden inside it,” Sa Ath said.

The meth found in Pudaite’s luggage weighed about 3.38 kilograms, Sa Ath said. If found guilty, Pudaite may face 20 years to life in prison and a fine of between 40 million riel and 100 million riel ($10,000 to $25,000). Less than two weeks ago, four Thai women were sentenced in Phnom Penh to life after being found guilty of smuggling more than eight kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador and Ghana last August.

Neither Judith nor a representative from the Indian embassy in Phnom Penh could be reached for comment yesterday.

Police said the arrest was initially kept under wraps because they were investigating other potential suspects.

Provincial anti-drug police are currently working in collaboration with customs and immigration police to strengthen efforts to prevent drug smuggling through Siem Reap airport, Sa Ath said.

Last August, police arrested Bertumen Edgar Celocial, 39, of the Philippines and a 29-year-old Thai woman named Naphaphon for allegedly smuggling 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamine into Siem Reap airport.

About a month later, Thai national Inthanu Suphee, 42, a reputed member of an international drug trafficking ring, was arrested at the same airport allegedly attempting to transport 5.6 kilograms of crystal meth, originally from India to Thailand.

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