Hundreds of kilogrammes of suspected illegal drugs and unknown substances were seized in a raid in Sen Sok district by the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Anti-Drugs Intervention Unit on Tuesday.
Deputy National Police chief Mok Chito, who is in charge of combating drugs, told The Post on Wednesday that the crackdown was made after the owner of the house, Uy Rasy, who is the deputy chief of Phnom Penh’s general department of customs and excise, became suspicious and contacted the police.
Chito said Rasy had rented the house, located on Street 371 in O’Bek Ka’am commune’s O’Bek Ka’am village, to a group of Chinese nationals. Rasy said he went to inspect his house on Tuesday but no one was inside.
During his visit, an unusual smell caught his attention. Rasy looked through a gap in the door, which was locked from the outside, and saw suspicious equipment and what looked like drugs, Chito said.
He immediately reported the discovery to the police.
Chito said that, with collaboration from Sen Sok district police and approval from Phnom Penh deputy municipal prosecutor Seng Kim Laing, at 1:30pm on Tuesday the anti-drug authority cut open the lock and searched the house.
“Our authorities found 18kg of pills which we suspect to be methamphetamine, 60kg of ketamine, 50.2kg of an unidentified powder substance, 80 bags of cornflower, 45kg of another unidentified white powder, mixing machines, two scales, 180 pill moulds and other equipment.
“The evidence was taken for testing to see whether it really was illegal drugs but, according to the evidence so far, we are satisfied that the case involves the manufacture of recreational and fake medicinal drugs, which can ruin people’s health,” Chito said, adding that the house had been temporarily sealed due to the ongoing probe.
Rasy said on Wednesday: “I have collaborated with officials, so please forgive me, I cannot give you details about this case. It at the investigation stage.”
A post on the Anti-Drug Department’s official Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon said: “[We] found 200.2kg of an addictive substance known as Pyrovalerone [a psychoactive drug with stimulant effects], which is listed in Table 3 of the Law on Drug Control. Please note that this is a new type of drug that has just come to Cambodia."
“In addition, there were 587.5kg of processed chemical powder and one processing machine.”
Chito said the bust was not related to the drug seizure at the Rock Entertainment Centre or the case involving an Indonesian suspect allegedly found trafficking illegal drugs on Sunday at Stung Treng province’s Trapaing Kriel checkpoint on the border with Laos.
In the meantime, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Wednesday gathered ministers and high-level officials of the Asean region and the international community for two days of border security negotiations in Bangkok.
The two-day meeting is titled Synchronising Trade and Security Plans in Support of Asean 2025.
Delegations are reviewing the latest information on transnational organised crime, considering how Asean integration and infrastructure plans are being used for the trafficking of drugs and other illegal commodities, and debating solutions to secure land and sea borders and airspace.
“Organised crime groups have effectively capitalised on policy and capacity disparities to grow the drug trade and other illicit businesses in Southeast Asia, and we believe a collective Asean border management strategy will help the region respond,” UNODC regional representative Jeremy Douglas said.
UNODC director Miwa Kato highlighted that challenges to integration are often overlooked, but that they can be managed.
“The fact that the most vulnerable states of the region are being taken advantage of its very worrying, but at the same time we can proactively help address challenges if they are taken into account as plans are developed,” Kato said.