B’bang Drug Sweep Snares RCAF Soldier

Continuing the sweep of meth­amphetamine peddlers in the northwest, police in Battambang province arrested an RCAF soldier with more than 700 pills Sun­day, while 2,000 pills were discovered in neighboring Banteay Mean­chey province Saturday night.

Battambang provincial police arrested soldier Keo Chhut, 44, as he was trying to sell metham­phet­­amine pills—known as “yama”—in Kamrieng district, said Chea Thaun, provincial de­puty Judicial Police chief.

Chea Thaun said Keo Chhut had begun dealing yama just one month ago, after being in­tro­duced into the business by deal­ers in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district—a former Khmer Rouge stronghold.

Battambang locals are being drawn to pill-popping because the drugs give them energy to work in the province’s maize plantations, the deputy police chief said.

Undercover Military Police officers in Banteay Meanchey tried to arrest a man selling 2,000 yama pills in Sisophon town Saturday night. While the illicit drugs were recovered, the suspect escaped, said Roth Sreang, provincial Mil­itary Police commander. Sold for close to $1 each, the pills were destined for markets near the Thai border, Roth Sreang said.

Earlier this month police in Banteay Meanchey raided the home of a former border police officer whom they accused of be­ing one of the northwest’s biggest drug traffickers. More than 5,900 methamphetamine pills were seized in the home of Khieu Sitha, who blamed his wife and child­ren.

Banteay Meanchey Deputy Judicial Police Chief Chhoeung Sok­hom said police found re­cords in the house indicating the suspect and his brother, Khieu Prey Chea, had cleared 38,000 pills in August alone. In August, Banteay Meanchey police discovered more than 61,000 methamphetamine pills near the border town of Poipet—the largest single pill bust ever in Cambodia.

Methamphetamine abuse has rocketed in Cambodia in recent years, leading anti-narcotics experts to fear the country faces a methamphetamine problem larger than the epidemic that swept Thailand in the 1990s.

 

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