Drug Dealers Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

Three men involved in dealing drugs were sentenced on Wednesday to 20 years in prison and fined 40 million riel, or about $10,000, each by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Chan Sopheak, 36, and Yang Leang, 37, were in court, while the third defendant, Thav Thavy, was sentenced in absentia and remains at large.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Thavy, 35, who is believed to be the ringleader.

Mr. Thavy, a convicted drug dealer, was at the center of a high-profile corruption scandal in 2015 when his confiscated SUV was gifted to the son of ousted Phnom Penh Municipal Court director Ang Mealaktei.

Mr. Mealaktei was imprisoned for unlawful exploitation and released last week after serving a year and a half in prison.

Mr. Sopheak was arrested in February last year at a guesthouse in Sen Sok district’s Toek Thla commune, where police found 623 grams of methamphetamine and scales.

He told police he had bought the drugs in a deal organized by Mr. Leang from prison, where he had served five years of a 30-year prison term for drug dealing.

Mr. Leang denied being involved, and both said they planned to appeal.

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