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Nabbed smuggler links to international drug ring

Nabbed smuggler links to international drug ring

A Filipino was arrested in Siem Reap on Friday over Wednesday’s seizure of more than three kilograms of methamphetamines at the city’s airport.

Police swooped down on the Angkor Touch Hotel at about 12:30pm on Friday, detaining Bertumen Edgar Celocial, 39, Siem Reap provincial police’s anti-drug department chief Nuon Sophanny said yesterday.

“This man was a member of an international trafficking network which is hiding out in Thailand,” Sophanny said.

“He has entered from Thailand via the Poipet international checkpoint and travelled to Siem Reap to receive drugs sent from Kenya by Thai woman Kotatan Miss Napaphon.”

Naphaphon, 29, was arrested at Siem Reap International Airport on Wednesday after customs police allegedly found 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamine powder in her checked baggage.

The Thai woman was arrested less than an hour after Vietnamese woman Phan Thi Thanh Hang, 19, was detained for allegedly smuggling about two kilograms of the same substance, also from Kenya, through Phnom Penh International Airport.

The drugs seized took the amount of methamphetamines and cocaine intercepted at the two international airports since August 7 to more than 40 kilograms.

Sophanny said information divulged by Napaphon had led police to Celocial.

“We believe he was the owner of the drugs seized at Siem Reap airport,” Sophanny said.

Both Celocial and Napaphon were charged in the provincial court on Saturday with possessing and trafficking drugs.

Nine people, including seven Thai women, have been arrested over seven major drug busts in the past fortnight.

According to Major General Khieu Saman, director of the anti-drug department, more arrests could be on the way.

“The arrests have been an enormous success for police,” he said. “We now are working hard with Thai police and other foreign authorities based in Thailand to arrest the leaders of these drug-trafficking networks.

“So far, we have identified the names of some leaders . . . hiding in Bangkok,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]


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