African Drug Raid Nets Visa Violations

Police in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district announced Friday that they had arrested 21 African men and confiscated 920 grams of cocaine in separate raids in Chamkar Mon district on Thursday.

Born Sam Ath, Dangkao district police chief, said Friday at a news conference all of the men were African nationals although their nationalities were unknown because identification had not been found for all of them.

Mr Sam Ath said five of the suspects were in district police custody while the other 16, who were not involved in the alleged drug trafficking, were being held at the municipal immigration office.

Those that have produced identification come from Nigeria and Guinea Bissau, he said.

“I have collected enough evidence that led to arresting them,” Mr Sam Ath said.

Guinean national Sergio Benpo, 35, was allegedly caught with 920 grams of cocaine in his shoes and underwear during a raid on Thursday in at his rented house in Chamkar Mon’s Olympic commune, deputy district police chief Chuop Sokheng told reporters on Friday.

Mr Sam Ath added that Mr Benpo, whose arrest led to the second raid that and other arrests, would be sent to municipal court on Saturday.

Mom Sitha, municipal immigration bureau chief, said the 16 men being held will be deported if their paperwork is not in order.

“These 16 men have no involvement with the drugs,” Mr Sitha said. “They only lived nearby the house where the five suspects were living.”

Street prices for Phnom Penh were not immediately available on Friday. However, in Thailand a kilogram of cocaine typically sold for $44,590 in 2007, according to the UN.


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