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Siem Reap airport bust nets two kilos of coke

Philippine national Chrisian Echual Ramirez, 33, is arrested at the Siem Reap airport after he allegedly attempted to smuggle more than two kilograms of cocaine in concealed shampoo bottles yesterday.
Philippine national Chrisian Echual Ramirez, 33, is arrested at the Siem Reap airport after he allegedly attempted to smuggle more than two kilograms of cocaine in concealed shampoo bottles yesterday. STRINGER

Siem Reap airport bust nets two kilos of coke

A man travelling from the Philippines to Thailand was arrested at Siem Reap International airport on Monday night for allegedly smuggling 2.3 kilograms of cocaine.

Oum Amara, provincial deputy police chief, identified the suspect as Christian Echual Ramirez, 33, from the Philippines, who was allegedly smuggling the drugs in two shampoo bottles.

Khieu Samon, head of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug department, told the Post yesterday that the arrest had been made with cooperation from international police.

“There have been many cases of illegal drug trafficking through airports [in Cambodia] this year, but we do not have an official tally yet,” Samon said.

Ramirez is expected to be charged in provincial court today.

Rates of methamphetamine and cocaine seizures in 2012 hit the highest totals ever reported by the country, according to a report released this month by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The report also highlights that transnational organised drug trafficking groups continue to target the Kingdom as a source and destination for amphetamine-type stimulants and other illegal drugs.

In October last year, a joint force of immigration, customs, military police and anti-drug officers arrested two Thai women allegedly with more than 11 kilograms of cocaine at the Siem Reap airport.

Another alleged trafficker with suspected links to a Thai drug ring was arrested at the same airport a month earlier with more than five kilograms of methamphetamine.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AMELIA WOODSIDE

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