Authorities in Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district are searching for suspects after police and Military Police discovered an illegal plantation with 550 marijuana plants on May 29 in Santre commune.

District police chief Tan Kearith said on May 31 that the suspects had grown the cannabis plants on a mountain in Kset Borey village.

After getting a tip about it, a group of 14 police officers worked with the district’s Military Police to search the area where they found a total of 550 marijuana plants before uprooting and burning them.

“The plants were burned at the site. We do not know how long they were growing there. Some of them were blooming,” Kearith said, adding that the plants were all over 1m in height.

According to Kearith, the marijuana was definitely being cultivated by someone and not growing wild as it was neatly organised on a 10m by 14m plot of land with 11 rows, each of which had exactly 50 plants.

This is the first marijuana-growing case that the district authorities have cracked down on this year. They discovered and destroyed some 4,000 marijuana plants in Rokat commune in 2020 and early 2021. Kearith said authorities urged the local people to report such activities to the authorities at the time, which is what may have led to the tip they received this time around.

“ We told people not to rent their land out to anyone growing it and we also asked people to cooperate with the police by giving us tips, anonymously should they desire, if they spotted any plantations of marijuana, so that police could destroy them and hopefully bring suspects to justice,” he said.