The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday officially charged the 11 suspects arrested during last week’s raids on six drug-producing sites around Phnom Penh, authorities said yesterday.
According to Major Buon Sam Ath, chief of Po Sen Chey District Police, the suspects were charged with importing international drug ingredients, producing drugs and drug trafficking.
“They have been sent to prison to await their trials,” he said.
The two alleged leaders of the drug ring, both Vietnamese nationals, fled the country despite Cambodian authorities’ efforts to alert their counterparts in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, said Brigadier General Pen Rath, deputy chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police.
“They escaped from Cambodia to Vietnam after their drug group members were cracked down on and arrested by Cambodian authorities in Phnom Penh,” he said.
In addition to the 11 arrests made during the raids, authorities also seized more than 3,000 litres of safrole oil, a key ingredient in the manufacture of the drug ecstasy.
The raids also yielded 11 barrels of gasoline (scented to mask its presence in the finished product), six bottles of acid, seven bottles of alcohol, a drug-producing machine and an unspecified amount of powder methamphetamines.
According to police, the safrole seized in the raids had been smuggled into Cambodia from Thailand, underscoring recent comments from officials noting an uptick in arrests and seizures related to drug production and transit in Cambodia.
“Besides this, [drug criminals] were trying to get into Cambodia by using it as a place for cross drug-trafficking activities,” Minister of the Interior Sar Kheng told the Post in a recent interview.
Chiv Keng, president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and Ek Chheng Huoth, the court’s deputy prosecutor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]