Nigerians Maintain Innocence in Church Meth Case

The trial of eight Nigerian men and a Cambodian woman charged with dealing methamphetamine out of a church in Phnom Penh inched closer to a verdict on Monday, with seven of the men disavowing all knowledge of the drugs.

On the second day of the trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which began in February, the seven were questioned over their involvement in distributing crystal meth out of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Church in Meanchey district in 2014 and early 2015.

All seven said they knew nothing about drugs and claimed they only knew each other from attending religious services at the church.

Tony Mmaduka Chukwuonye, 34, admitted to once taking a plastic bag from the suspected ringleader, Obieze Kenneth Uche, 35, to the Cambodian defendant, Mam Vinyong, 25, but said he did not know it had contained drugs.

“I did not know, and I only found out after I was arrested by police,” Mr. Chukwuonye said.

Mr. Uche, better known by the nickname “Jack,” remains at large, according to Yin Panharith, a bureau chief at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.

Nine suspects were arrested on January 8 last year following a six-month undercover operation that netted about 800 grams of crystal meth.

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