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Drug bust nets two government officials

Drug bust nets two government officials

Two government officials are among a group of 13 people facing charges this week following large-scale drug busts by the Ministry of Interior.

Moek Dara, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said the suspects were nabbed in a pair of busts by the NACD in Phnom Penh.

In one case, Hay Chanphearith, 34, a military official working at the Ministry of Defence, was arrested last week at a FedEx office in Chamkarmon district where he had allegedly gone to pick up 1.5 kilogrammes worth of unidentified drug precursors. Police interrogated him following the arrest and, based on his testimony, apprehended two additional suspects, pressing charges against the trio on Tuesday, Moek Dara said.

In the second case, Sieng Sokhorn, 32, who Moek Dara said was an adviser to an unidentified “high-ranking government official”, was charged yesterday after being arrested on Monday in Russey Keo district’s Sre Ronoung restaurant. Police then searched Sieng Sokhorn’s home in Sen Sok district and confiscated more than three kilogrammes of heroin, arresting nine others on Monday based on his testimony.

“They were all charged with drug trafficking and have been sent to prison to await trial,” Moek Dara said.

Moek Dara, National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith and Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said they did not know Hay Chanphearith’s formal title, nor which official Sieng Sokhorn served as an adviser. Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment.

Kirt Chantharith said Hay Chanphearith had been arrested as a result of a tip from FedEx, while police investigated Sieng Sokhorn and his accomplices for one week before making the bust.

“We think this shows our success in cracking down on drug trafficking,” Kirt Chantharith said. “We spent a long time sending our spies to follow up on these cases and investigate them.”

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