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Cocaine convict appeals jail term

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Luyo Romeo Plaza on his way to court. Supplied

The Supreme Court yesterday heard an appeal in the case of a Filipino convicted to 30 years in prison for trafficking nearly one kilogram of cocaine from Argentina to Cambodia in 2010.

Judge Kem Sothavy identified the suspect as Luyo Romeo Plaza, 43, who was convicted alongside Thai woman Chon Thong Treerat, 38.

Ms Chon was arrested in June 2009 at Phnom Penh International Airport after flying from Argentina
to Cambodia.

“She was arrested after she walked through an X-ray security machine that showed she had swallowed a total of 78 condoms containing nearly one kilogram of cocaine in her stomach,” the judge said.   

Information given by Ms Chon under interrogation led to the arrest of Mr Plaza, who arranged to meet her in Poipet city on the Cambodia-Thai border, to take the drugs to Thailand.   

The two suspects were given 30-year sentences for the crime in April 2010. They both appealed the judgement in the Appeal Court, but were rejected.

Mr Plaza then decided to take his case to the Supreme Court. At yesterday’s trial, Mr Plaza said he had been a victim of injustice. 

He claimed he was hired by a Nigerian man named Joe to go and pick up a bag of clothing from a woman at a hotel in Poipet, but was arrested when he arrived at the location.   

“I did not commit drug trafficking but I have been convicted to 30 years in prison,” he told the court.

“I have lost my family. If I was a drug trafficker, I would not argue with the judgement, but I am innocent. Please release me so I can go back to my family in my country.”   

The verdict is due on the morning of October 25.

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