32,000 Amphetamine Pills Found in Truck

Two people have been charged with drug trafficking in Kratie province following the discovery of 32,000 amphetamine pills in a vehicle traveling to Phnom Penh from the Lao border in Strung Treng province, police said Tuesday.

Suspects Mao Bunnath, a 46-year-old woman, and Nuon Pisei, a 19-year-old man, were arrested at 2:30 am Saturday following a months-long police investigation, Kratie Deputy Police Chief Chuong Seang Hak said.

Both suspects were sent to court on Monday and charged with drug trafficking, Chuong Seang Hak said.

The bust was the largest seiz­ure of amphetamine pills in the province since the arrest in June of Mao Bunnath’s two daughters who were caught with 28,000 amphetamine pills onboard a boat traveling to Phnom Penh from Stung Treng province.

“This is the largest bust police have ever made in Kratie,” Chuong Seang Hak said by telephone.

“We have investigated this case for months,” he added.

The suspects were making the difficult road journey from Stung Treng province when police stopped and searched their pickup truck, and discovered the pills stashed behind the back seat  concealed beneath Mao Bun­nath’s clothing.

National and international anti-nar­cotics experts have warned that Cambodia has become an im­portant smuggling route for drug lords based in the Golden Triangle, the drug-processing zone where the borders of Thai­land, Burma and Laos meet.

Officials said the majority of the major drug seizures in Cambodia in 2002 entered Stung Treng from Laos.

Chuong Seang Hak said there have been five successful drug investigations in cases linked to the Lao border since 2001.

In June, Mao Bunnath’s daughters Khun Seima, 19, and Ith Sokha Touch, 23, were arrested after police stopped a fast boat headed for Phnom Penh.

Chuong Seang Hak said Mao Bunnath was often seen visiting the Kratie provincial courthouse when her daughters were in de­tention. Police said Tuesday that Mao Bunnath’s daughters were released on bail in July.

Court officials could not be contacted on Tuesday.


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