Brit Arrested During Drug Bust in Sihanoukville

A 48-year-old British national was arrested at his rented apartment in Sihanoukville on Thursday on suspicion of drug trafficking after police discovered a haul of narcotics during a raid, officials said Friday.

Preah Sihanouk provincial anti-drug bureau police chief Tak Sa­rith said that Charles Emery was detained at about 9 p.m. in Buon commune after an undercover officer visited his home and purchased drugs following a two-week investigation. 

“We used our drug spy to pretend to buy drugs from him,” he said. “After questioning, he confessed his crime.”

Mr. Sarith said the raid turned up 12.4 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 57 methamphetamine pills, three blocks of marijuana, 300 sleeping pills and other ingredients that police suspected were used in drug production.

However, after analysis, police concluded that Mr. Emery was not producing drugs on a large scale from his apartment, he said.

Sam Bunthan, deputy provincial police chief, said the suspect was still being questioned Friday afternoon to determine where the drugs came from.

“We are still questioning the suspect by using a translator to find out the source of the drugs and medicine,” Mr. Bunthan said.

The drug bust comes as officials in Preah Sihanouk attempt to stamp out a recent spike in crime on the coast. In April, the provincial police chief was removed and replaced by Chuon Narin, the former deputy chief of the Phnom Penh municipal force.

Mr. Sarith said police have been making greater efforts to curb illegal drug dealing, with 48 people arrested in 35 separate busts in the first six months of this year—including three British and two Vietnamese nationals—compared to 64 arrests made from 34 raids carried out in all of 2014.

“I could not crack down on all the drug cases in the province; there is still lots of drug trafficking…we need villagers to cooperate with the police in order to crack down on these cases,” Mr. Sarith said.

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