The National Police on Wednesday said it arrested five foreign nationals and seized more than five kilograms of meth in raids after a month-long investigation.
General Mok Chito, deputy National Police chief, said that police on Wednesday arrested Romanian national Olaru Narcis Manuel, 22, in Siem Reap province and seized the five kilograms of drugs.
He said that after the arrest, National Police Anti-Drug Department officers arrested four other suspects during a raid in Phnom Penh and seized three packages of meth from them.
He identified them as Nigerians Azubam Celestine Emeka, 44, Azubam Simeon Chukwudi, 42, and Ngwu Hillary Mmadu, 21, and another Romanian national Lixadru Vasile Nicolae, 26.
All four were arrested on Wednesday in Chamkar Mon district’s Phsar Doeum Thkov commune.
“A total of five people were arrested for drug trafficking,” Gen Chito said, noting that Mr Narcis Manuel was arrested on Wednesday morning and the other four in the afternoon.
He said that in late December, Japanese police arrested a Canadian drug smuggler and tipped off Cambodian police that the suspect had links with drug ringleaders in Phnom Penh.
“We started our investigation after receiving the tip off from Japanese police,” Gen Chito said. “Our investigation took more than a month before we arrested the suspects on Wednesday.”
He said that Mr Narcis Manuel left his country on Saturday and entered the country through Thailand in order to export the drugs to New Zealand.
“The Nigerians were the ringleaders who smuggled drugs from the Golden Triangle,” Gen Chito said.
He noted that the drugs seized could fetch at least $100,000 per kilo in New Zealand’s market.
Gen Chito said that the four suspects who were arrested in Phnom Penh are being questioned at the Anti-Drug Department and will be sent to the provincial court in Siem Reap today.
“We will send them to Siem Reap province because they are linked to the suspect who was arrested there,” he added.
An Interior Ministry report issued last month noted that police confiscated 533 kilograms of drugs last year, up from 296 kilograms in 2017, despite a drop in the number of arrests, from 17,795 in 2017 to 16,232 last year.
The report said that drugs seized included methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.