Kirivong district police in Takeo province arrested a man growing hundreds of marijuana plants and handed him over to provincial anti-drug police who are hoping to glean information from him over the illegal drug network in the province.
Kirivong district deputy police chief Hiem Srim identified the suspect as Phorn Moch, 35, from Preah Bat Chonchum commune’s Chroy Village.
Srim said the suspect planted marijuana along the mountainside in the village and was arrested on Monday while harvesting the crop.
“The suspect was active in planting marijuana in the mountainous areas. Police have been researching and tracking the situation for many years, but it is only now that we had enough evidence and caught him red-handed at the spot as he was harvesting the crop,” he said.
Srim said during the arrest, police seized and burned a total of 776 marijuana plants and more than 1kg of harvested crop.
They then sent the suspect to the provincial anti-drug office for legal proceedings.
Srim noted that despite ongoing crackdowns, marijuana plants have been illegally planted in forests, along the banks of lakes and at the foot of mountains.
In January alone, Kirivong district police cracked down on 24 marijuana plantations, destroying more than 10,000 plants, he noted.
Takeo provincial anti-drug bureau director Mak Serey Vathana said his officers are questioning the accused to search for other suspects behind the illegal marijuana network in the province.
“We believe that apart from this suspect, there are many others involved in the business because without brokers, the suspect would not take the risk to grow marijuana, which is prohibited by law,” he said.
The suspect would be sent to the provincial court on Wednesday, he noted.