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Hunt on for Takeo marijuana growers

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Officers destroy marijuana crops in Takeo province’s Kiri Vong district on Monday. Takeo Police

Hunt on for Takeo marijuana growers

Takeo provincial police on May 31 destroyed marijuana plants from eight locations in an area covering 2,732sqm in the province’s Dob Thmor Changkran village in Kiri Vong district’s Preah Bat Chonchum commune.

According to the National Police website, district police chief Yuk Sarath led forces to search for the illegal crop and five reservoirs and are now searching for the cultivators to be brought to justice.

Sarath declined to comment on June 1.

Commune police chief In Savuth told The Post on June 1 that it was difficult to identify the perpetrators as marijuana was grown in the Bayong Kor mountain range.

“Tackling marijuana cultivation is very complicated. Sometimes, it is grown in a rocky valley and sometimes by a stream. So, finding marijuana crops is very difficult. During the search, we looked for signs in the forest, footprints and traces of people walking on the rocks.”

He said that in a marijuana operation, authorities may use undercover agents and informers who provide information to authorities about the location of marijuana cultivation.

According to a provincial police report, the Bayong Kor mountain range spans four communes in Kiri Vong district including Preah Bat Chonchum, Prey Ampoak, Som, and Kiri Chung Koh, and it is an area near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

It said the mountain range is ideal for growing marijuana and smuggling to Vietnam.

The report said the perpetrators planted the crops in areas with complicated geography and difficult access. This makes any detection difficult and allows perpetrators advanced warning of approaching police so they can escape.

“Provincial and district police and officers from border guard battalion unit 603 have been conducting regular operations. No matter what the situation, the perpetrators will not evade justice,” it said.

From 2019 to the first six months of this year, police have uncovered 97 marijuana operations, burned the crops at 443 locations, destroyed 282 reservoirs and confiscated 80.5kg of dried marijuana. The cultivated areas totaled 609,687sqm, according to the report.

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