Takeo provincial police are on the hunt for the owners of 13 marijuana plantations they discovered and destroyed on Sunday.
A provincial police report issued on Monday noted that the raids focused on Kiri Vong district and were initiated by provincial police chief Sok Samnang, who assigned district police chief Yuk Sarath to lead the operations.
In the raids, police found and destroyed 13 marijuana plantations along mountainsides across an area of 1,013sqm.
A district police officer who asked not to be named told The Post on Monday that officers are now searching for the owners of the plantations.
He noted some residents living near the Chen Cave Mountain and Da Damrei Leng Mountain in Preah Bat Chonchum commune are being investigated.
“The marijuana crop is lucrative, so some of our people grow it despite knowing that it is banned under the law.
“We will continue to crack down on such operations and seize and burn the plants. The perpetrators will be sent to court. Last month we sent a marijuana grower to court,” he said.
The officer was referring to a case in which police managed to catch a marijuana plantation owner red-handed as he was harvesting his crop, leading to his arrest and subsequent charging in court. Thousands of plants were also destroyed.
Preah Bat Chonchum commune police chief In Vuth said on Monday that he cooperated with district police during the raids, but had no further information.
Chen Cave Mountain and Da Damrei Leng Mountain are favourable for secretly growing marijuana because of their dense jungles, he said.
There are not many big rocks in the mountains, resulting in fewer barriers to farming. Nonetheless, it is difficult for police to patrol the area, whereas perpetrators are familiar with the geography and use it for their illegal farms, he said.
“We have often cracked down on marijuana crimes. Last month police removed and burned plants and nabbed a grower, but others are still growing it,” he said.
“Some villagers secretly plant marijuana as it is more lucrative than growing dry season rice.”