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Police arrest Australian actor over ‘drug trafficking’

Australian actor Mark Coutelas, 57, was sent to pre-trial detention on charges of drug trafficking in Preah Sihanouk province.
Australian actor Mark Coutelas, 57, was sent to pre-trial detention on charges of drug trafficking in Preah Sihanouk province. Photo supplied

Police arrest Australian actor over ‘drug trafficking’

An Australian actor who was once the face of the popular Australian soft drink Solo was arrested by Military Police in Sihanoukville on Monday and detained on charges of drug trafficking, officials said yesterday.

Mark Coutelas, 57, was charged on Tuesday and detained at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison, provincial court spokesman Lem Bunheng said. He previously served time in Thailand for drug possession.

Keo Sophal, the deputy commander of Preah Sihanouk Provincial Military Police, said Coutelas had been arrested on Monday at the Otres Lux guesthouse, with authorities allegedly seizing 100 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana, five pipes, a scale, a motorbike and a mobile phone as evidence.

As the “Solo Man”, Coutelas in the 1980s starred in various commercials in which he kayaked down rapids and performed other extreme sports before consuming the lemon-flavoured punch produced by Schweppes.

See one of Coutelas's Solo Man advertisements here:

According to posts on his public Facebook page, Coutelas had recently opened a massage parlour in Sihanoukville. In May, he posted a comment stating: “Living in Sihanoukville Cambodia at this minute in Phnom Pehn. I LOVE CHANG CLUB!!! I miss you buddy. Me blacklist for Thailand [sic] 110 years.”

The Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to requests for comment. Police said Coutelas was arrested as part of a crackdown on drugs in the seaside resort town.

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