A Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge has sentenced a Nigerian man to 10 years in prison for trafficking 1,875 tablets of the party drug Ecstacy, according to officials.
Police arrested Nigerian national Tony David, 27, in January at Phnom Penh International Airport when he went to pick up exercise equipment flown in from the Netherlands.
Authorities said a large cache of ecstacy was discovered inside the equipment.
Presiding Judge Sao Meach, who sentenced David to 10 years on Monday, said that the law is applied evenly to Khmers and foreigners alike.
“It is all the same: 10 years is the lowest,” he said.
A nearly identical narcotics case was resolved by the municipal court in June.
A Nigerian national and his Cambodian partner were sentenced to 14 years in prison each after they were found guilty of receiving packages shipped from the Netherlands containing roughly 6,000 hidden ecstasy tablets.
Touch Muysor, police chief for the municipality’s Anti-Drug Trafficking office, said Thursday that police don’t believe that any one nationality is dominating drug rings in Phnom Penh.
“It is difficult to specify what nationality is the ringleader, it is a mixture of nationalities,” he said.
Graham Shaw of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said that there is no statistical analysis of whether a growing number of foreigners are being prosecuted for trafficking drugs in Cambodia. But he said that average drug trafficking sentences have gotten longer.
Porn Boramy, director of the international cooperation department for the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said that there has been an increase in foreigners and Cambodians receiving hefty sentences due to revamped penalty clauses in the nation’s drug law.
“In the past we had weak laws compared to other Asean countries,” he said. “But since the drug law was amended this year the Cambodian law is stronger and more [comparable] to our neighbors.”
But the revised drug law, which stiffened drug-related sentences and targeted smugglers, has yet to serve as a sufficient deterrent since drug trafficking and abuse is on the rise across the country.
“Drug trafficking is increasing every year,” Porn Boramy said.