The two-star Royal Cambodian Armed Forces general who was arrested last week along with three alleged accomplices for drug-related offences is staring a potential life sentence in the face.
Deputy prosecutor Keu Ponnara said that Major General Chan Rithydy, his bodyguard, and Lao-Cambodian couple Deap Sunlay, and his wife, Nham Sokha, were officially charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday with drug trafficking and sent to Prey Sar prison to await trial.
“They were officially charged this morning by the court within the new article 40 of the Law on Drug Control,” Ponnara told the Post. “According to the new article … if they are found guilty, they will be facing from 20 to 30 years in prison each, or a life sentence.”
Ponnara went on to say that Rithydy would be back in court soon to face additional charges.
“Although Chan Rithydy is now already charged and sent to the prison, he is still facing another accusation,” he said. “He will be brought for questioning at the court related to possessing and stocking luxury woods without authorisation.”
According to anti-drug police director Khieu Saman, Rithydy and his bodyguard were arrested at the general’s mansion last Friday with more than one kilogram of crystalline ecstasy and about 85,000 tablets of methamphetamine-type stimulants.
The day after their arrest, police discovered a huge cache of luxury wood hidden at another residence.
Rithydy’s two alleged Lao accomplices, said Saman, were arrested the next day with nearly a kilogram of ecstasy, based on information garnered from Rithydy’s questioning.
One of the accused, Deap Sunlay, confessed to bringing drugs into Cambodia across the Lao border, and to selling drugs to Rithydy, said Saman.
Sunlay acted as middleman, buying a kilo of ecstasy in Laos for US$32,000, then selling it to Rithydy for $35,000, who in turn sold it for $42,000.
The four accused and their lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]