Eight months after being arrested for smuggling 5 kilograms of cocaine through Phnom Penh International Airport, two drug traffickers were sentenced to life in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Romanian national Varadi Adrian-Calin, 35, and Nigerian national Ibe Chukwuemeka, 40, were arrested in August for smuggling the drugs from Brazil to Cambodia.
“On behalf of the Cambodian people, having listened to the accused, relevant authorities, lawyers, and having seen the evidence, the court decided to sentence Varadi Adrian-Calin and Ibe Chukwuemeka to life in prison and each has to pay a 40 million riel [$10,000] fine,” Judge Im Vannak said.
Upon hearing the verdict, Chukwuemeka remained silent while Adrian-Calin walked away in tears.
Adrian-Calin was arrested on August 14 after 5 kilograms of cocaine were found in a suitcase. Chukwuemeka, who police suspected to be the intended recipient of the drugs, was arrested the following day.
“We got secret information from international partners on the identity of the suspect and we waited for him. When he arrived we arrested him and found 14 packs of cocaine weighing 5 kilograms. Then we transferred the suspect and the drugs to the anti-drug department,” Sroy Proeut, a customs official at the airport, said at a hearing on April 25.
Sin Sophal, the deputy director of the anti-drug intervention unit at the Interior Ministry, said that after questioning Adrian-Calin, the police staked out the City Centre Hotel for six hours to arrest the intended drug recipient.