A 27-year-old Venezuelan woman was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday for allegedly smuggling nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine, immigration officials said.
According to immigration department spokesman Kerm Sarin, immigration police at the airport cooperated with customs officials to make the arrest, with the suspect later sent to the anti-drug trafficking department after initial questioning.
Suspect Neilin Coromoto Mejias allegedly received the cocaine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, then smuggled it to Ethiopia, before transporting it to Bangkok. She then flew to Phnom Penh, where she was allegedly planning to travel to Siem Reap by car, according to the police.
The police apprehended 1.79 kilograms of cocaine hidden in about 100 pin-on buttons.
Sarin said that this was “the first case at an airport in Cambodia in 2017 that we could arrest a suspect”, and added that Mejias did not reside in Cambodia.
Khieu Saman, director of the anti-drug trafficking department, confirmed that the suspect was temporarily detained at his department. “We are looking to find the big dealers,” he said, declining to provide further details.
An airport police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that “we saw her travelling destination was irregular. She was a suspect because she flew from some countries that are known to have problems with drugs. We were also suspicious of her – why would she bring so many buttons?”