Ice bust trio go on trial

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The three men arriving at the court yesterday. Supplied

Two Cambodians and a Vietnamese man went on trial yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over their alleged involvement in the trafficking of more than half a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine.
 
The three, who have served time in jail for other drug offenses, were said to have been involved in trafficking at Phum Trapaing Chhouk village, notorious for its drug use, in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district in 2016.  
 
Presiding judge Kor Vandy said the three were Chan Sopheak, 36, Thav Thavy, who is also known as Long Ravy, 37, and Yaing Leang, 37, from Vietnam.
 
Mr. Sopheak faces two charges, drug trafficking and committing a felony after sentencing for a misdemeanor.
 
In 2013 he was jailed for two years and six months for drug trafficking. He was freed in 2015.
 
Mr. Thavy and Mr. Leang were charged with drug trafficking. Mr. Thavy was convicted in 2014 of drug trafficking and was jailed for two years. He was freed last year.
 
Mr. Leang was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the municipal court in 2012. He is being held in Prey Sar prison.
 
Mr. Thavy and Mr. Leang are linked to another case involving more than three kilograms of drugs, along with two Nigerians suspected of trafficking.
 
The case of Sergio Bento, 41, and Okeke Amechi Samuel, 36, was heard last week. The verdict is due on March 2  
 
Mr. Vandy said Mr. Sopheak and Mr. Leang were arrested in February last year. Mr. Thavy is still at large.  
 
Colonel Iv Phearith, the chief of the Phnom Penh anti-drug police, said yesterday that Mr. Sopheak was arrested when police raided his Angkor Guesthouse room in Trapaing Chhouk village.
 
The village is a popular drug-using area in Phnom Penh.
 
Police seized seven packages of crystal methamphetamine weighing a total of 624 grams and other drug material.
 
After Mr. Sopheak confessed, police moved to identify Mr. Yaing Leang in Prey Sar prison and a man named Ravy or Mr. Thavy.   
 
At yesterday’s trial, Chan Sopheak admitted that he bought the drugs for $8,000 from a prisoner named Leang in Prey Sar through Mr. Ravy.
 
He aimed to split the drugs into small amounts and sell them to users in Trapaing Chhouk village.  
 
Mr. Sopheak said he had known Mr. Leang and Mr. Ravy when he was in Prey Sar in 2013.  
 
He said that before his arrest, he bought drugs three times from Mr. Leang via Mr. Ravy.
 
“But the prisoner named Leang that I knew in prison was Khmer, he was not the Vietnamese national or Yaing Leang who stood near me in this courtroom,” he said.
 
He asked the court for leniency.
 
Mr. Leang denied the allegations. He said he did not know Mr. Sopheak or Ravy or Mr. Thavy.
 
He said he did not have anything to do with the case and asked the court to drop his charges.
 
The verdict is due on March 22.

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