A Joint operation between police in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo and Meanchey districts shut down a meth lab in Meanchey’s Boeung Tompun commune on Sunday night, which the nation’s top drug cop said would be the first bust of its kind this year if true.
Russey Keo district police chief Tieng Chansar said that the nighttime raid on the drug lab was sparked by intelligence gleaned from 29-year-old Sen Dayusa, who was arrested at 1am on Sunday allegedly in possession of two small packets of methamphetamine.
“After questioning him, we went on to arrest his five-strong gang at 9:15pm in Boeung Tompun,” Chansar said. He identified the arrested as ringleader Yong Chanhuoyyong, 45; Nuon Sreyleak, 27; Duong Lili, 45; Mak Sreypov, 23; and Chan Chorvy, 27.
“Four of them were Vietnamese,” he said.
Crime scene photos released by Russey Keo police show what police said was 14 bottles of the amphetamine precursor methanol, two large packages of crystal methamphetamine, other precursors, three packages of methamphetamine pills and also assorted paraphernalia for drug production and use.
Chansar hailed the raid as a victory.
“We hit the target. Our actions are focused on the roots of drugs, because if we only bust delivery men and traffickers, we cannot eliminate this crime,” he said. “When we target production centres, it’s like we are cracking down on the cooking pot.”
However, Mok Chito, head of the National Police’s anti-drug department, said that he was not so optimistic about the raid, questioning whether the arrest site had really been used for drug production. He said it would be the first of its kind in 2016 if confirmed true.
“I have not seen [the police report] yet, but it could be that they just saw some small tools but said that there was drug production,” Chito said.
“Sometimes it’s just a small thing, but it’s reported that it was production in order to get recognition.”