More than four and a half tonnes of drugs were seized in crackdowns on illegal drug trafficking and production across the country in the past 18 months, according to the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD).
NACD secretary-general Meas Virith told The Post on June 16 that their efforts in combating drugs remain active despite the country being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Since the beginning of January 2020, our anti-drug forces across the country have seized more than 4,500kg of drugs and drug-related substances and arrested many foreign criminals for prosecution in court,” he said.
Virith said the drug trafficking networks within an international and regional framework were evolving quickly and posed a serious risk to national security.
The trend towards the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs continues to grow. The market for methamphetamines has especially expanded, while the opium and heroin crops have declined significantly.
Most drug production activities in the region are undertaken by armed groups of criminals and funded by international drug gangs, he said.
“Assessing the international and regional drug situation, maritime geography remains an important factor for determining the routes for large-scale drug trafficking to the global drug market,” he added.
He said that in response to the current drug situation, permanent coordination officers from the six Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) member countries – Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, China, Vietnam and Myanmar – have been actively cooperating.
Through the SMCC mechanism, the six countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion have agreed to launch operation 1511 to increase law enforcement efficiency and put pressure on criminals to prevent and suppress drug production and trafficking in the Golden Triangle and the circulation of chemicals into the area.
To strengthen this cooperation, Cambodia has made efforts to implement the drug-free border village mechanism by training personnel in border communities to educate local people, especially young people, about the risks of drugs and participate in the fight against drugs through reporting on the network of drug criminals that they know to the authorities so they can intervene in a timely manner.
Separately on the night of June 16, the specialised forces of the anti-drug department in cooperation with the Preah Vihear provincial police and border guards busted two Laotian men who had imported drugs to Cambodia by waterway. The sting took place in Kampong Sralao I commune’s Kampong Po village in Chheb district.
Sun Julona, director of the Preah Vihear provincial police’s anti-drug bureau, told The Post on June 17 that the two Laotians, both aged 37, were arrested along with five large packages of methamphetamines weighing nearly 5kg. Police also seized one boat used for drug transportation and have sent the duo to the provincial police.
“Currently, the two suspects are being charged with the crime of cross-border drug trafficking from Laos to Cambodia. They are under investigation by officials from the anti-drug bureau of the Preah Vihear provincial police who are preparing a case to be sent to the provincial court for prosecution in accordance with legal procedures,” he said.