PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – The Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking department is investigating the ringleaders of a European-based gang trafficking marijuana from the Kingdom to Europe
Lieutenant-General Khieu Saman, director of the ministry’s anti-drug trafficking department, said police seized 1.5 tons of dried marijuana and 1.5 kilograms of marijuana oil on Friday from a warehouse in Toul Sangke commune.
Police arrested three men in Mean Chey district. The haul was 16 times the entire amount seized in the first seven months of the year.
He said police found machines used for drying, packaging and refining oil from marijuana during the raid.
Gen. Saman declined to say which European country the ringleaders were in. He only said that the ministry could confirm that the money for the drug operation was coming from a foreigner living in Europe.
“The ringleader is a foreigner who is in Europe,” he said, adding that he will release details of the suspect once police had arrested gang members in Cambodia.
Sourcing From Laos
Gen. Saman said members of the drug-trafficking organization were told to buy the marijuana in Laos and bring it to Cambodia to be shipped elsewhere.
Gen. Saman said Vit Sang, a motorbike driver police arrested, was tasked with transporting the marijuana from Laos to Cambodia. He transported the drugs in containers from popular Laotian coffee brand “Dao Coffee.”
Soun Pheakdey was arrested first with Mr. Sang. He was in charge of the machines used to package and ship the marijuana.
Som Dara, who was also arrested, said he received money from a foreigner to run the operation in Cambodia.
“We asked police in Australia and America, and they said this amount of dried marijuana is worth more than $7 million if it sells in a European market or another big country,” Gen. Saman said.
In the first seven months of this year, police seized close to 90 kilograms of drugs, dealt with 1,300 separate cases, and detained about 2,000 suspects.
The punishment for purchasing, storing or consuming more than 60 kilograms of dried marijuana is 20 years to life in prison, and fines between $10,000 and $25,000.
Police guard three men arrested over a massive marijuana bust.