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Court hears of alleged prison trafficking ring

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Seven suspects, pictured above with 103,600 seized pulls after their arrest last year, were tried on drug trafficking charges at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Photo supplied.

Court hears of alleged prison trafficking ring

Seven suspects accused of operating a drug ring from prison were yesterday on trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

In January last year, police arrested Dy Thoura, 32, as he allegedly transported methamphetamine to a Phnom Penh bus stop. His confession implicated six others, five of whom were in Prey Sar prison.

The defendants are Nigerian citizens Okeke Amachi Sammuel, 36, and Sergio Bento, 41, both of whom were already serving 25- to 27-year sentences on trafficking charges; Cambodian national Suon Sao, 45, in on a two-year drug-trafficking sentence; Cambodian national Sin Ratha, 39, serving a one-year sentence for drug use; a man named Vy who remains at large; and Vietnamese national Young Leang, 37, who is serving a sentence for multiple drug-trafficking charges.

According to Thoura, orders would be given by phone to traffickers on the outside. During the hearing, he confessed to receiving phone calls from Leang about where to pick up and drop off drugs.

Co-defendants Sao and Ratha claimed they were only linked to the case because they gave Thoura’s phone number to Leang. Leang, however, has maintained his innocence and denied possessing a phone in prison, despite evidence to the contrary.

According to Ratha, the money from the deals was transferred to the Wing accounts of three of the defendants, who generally received $5,000 to $10,000 per deal.

A verdict in is due March 2.

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