Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried three foreign nationals and a Cambodian woman accused of trafficking nearly two kilograms of crystal meth in Phnom Penh last year.
Presiding Judge Pich Vicheathor identified them as Stephen Chinedu, 38, a Nigerian tourist, Emima Lanky, 33, a South African tourist, Marilou Auxilo, 46, a Filipina teacher at a private English school in Phnom Penh, and Top Mashitos, 36, who is jobless.
He said that they were arrested on February 23 last year by the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking police and were charged with drug trafficking. All five face life in prison if convicted.
Judge Vicheathor noted that after their arrests, police seized nearly two kilograms of crystal meth from them.
Deputy prosecutor Long Cheab said the accused were working for a drug ring and brought drugs from the Cambodia-Laos border in Stung Treng province for sale to users in Phnom Penh, and in Kampot, Kep and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
He said that Ms Auxilo was arrested at about 6pm on February 23 by anti-drug trafficking police at the Sovanna Supermarket in Chamkar Mon district after she sold a package of drugs to an undercover police officer.
Mr Cheab said that police seized a package of crystal meth weighing nearly one kilogram from her.
He said that based on Ms Auxilo’s confession, police arrested Mr Chinedu, Mr Lanky and Ms Mashitos at about 7.30pm on February 23 at her rental house in Russey Keo district.
“They were working for drug traffickers and transported drugs from the border in Stung Treng province to distribute to users in other cities and provinces in the country,” Mr Cheab said. “Police identified them after the undercover officer contacted them to buy drugs.”
He added that after their arrests, police seized two packages of crystal meth weighing more than one kilogram and the total amount of drugs seized from the four accused was 1,988. 95 grams.
During yesterday’s trial, Ms Auxilo and Ms Mashitos denied the allegations.
Ms Auxilo told the court that the drugs seized from her belonged to Ms Mashitos.
She said that Ms Mashitos hired her and promised to pay her $100 if she delivered a package to an unidentified man and she did not know that it contained drugs.
“I only knew there were drugs inside after I was arrested and police showed them to me,” Ms Auxilo told the court. “I was shocked when I saw them.”
Ms Mashitos denied Ms Auxilo’s claim and said that she had never met her before.
“I did not know her and I never met her,” she told the court. “I am not a drug trafficker and I did not hire her to deliver the drugs to the undercover officer.”
The trial resumes on a date yet to be decided.