19 Nabbed in Restaurant Drug Raid

A drug raid by police on Saturday at a restaurant on Street 136 in the capital’s Daun Penh district netted the arrests of 19 suspects including the establishment’s two American owners and two French men, military police said yesterday.

The 13 women and six men, who were arrested at 4 pm at Cali Restaurant in Phsar Kandal I commune, could be charged as early today after investigators submit their case to prosecutors, said Hong Vinol, head of information for the national Military Police. Military police discovered small amounts of methamphetamine as well as drug paraphernalia including water pipes at the business, he said.

Military police suspect the owners Cheat Che, 61, and Sok Lan, 54, who have American nationality, of selling drugs, knowingly providing a place for people to take drugs and possession of an illegal firearm, he said. Police identified the French men as Bernard Jacquet, 59, and Victor Tan, who has dual citizenship in Cambodia and France. Two of those arrested were Vietnamese.

“Now [police] are interrogating them one by one, including the [Vietnamese-American] couple, who are the owners of the restaurant,” he said. “We suspected the Cali restaurant operated for drug users and sold drugs a month ago but we needed real evidence to raid them.”

Sok Penhvuth, the deputy governor of Daun Penh district, said the same restaurant was raided last year.

Mr Vinol said that police began suspecting that drugs were again being used in the hotel last month.

US Embassy spokesman John Johnson said yesterday he could not answer questions concerning Mr Che and Ms Lan.

(Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)

 

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