The son of a police lieutenant colonel and a member of a commune council were among four people arrested Thursday in Kompong Thom province for dealing drugs and were remanded in custody, a court prosecutor said Friday.
He Lamit, 31, the son of Kompong Thom provincial police Lieutenant Colonel Seng Chea, and Stung Sen City’s commune council member Yang Sokserei Sorphea, 27, were arrested along with Eng Sitha, 32, and Sa Slaiman, 30, and placed in pretrial detention on Thursday, Kampong Thom Provincial Court prosecutor Ith Sothea said.
The arrests followed a lengthy investigation, deputy chief of Kompong Thom’s anti-drug trafficking bureau Vor Thearith said.
“We have tried many times for six months to arrest them, but we always failed because the drug dealers have many tricks like they just sell small amounts of drugs,” Mr. Thearith said.
“Prior to the first arrest we were informed by the local authorities who got secret information from local people. So we went down immediately together with the provincial prosecutor to arrest Eng Sitha at a small street food shop and questioned him.”
Mr. Thearith said that police then moved in on Mr. Lamit’s home, where they arrested him and Mr. Slaiman. A mobile phone was also seized, he said, allowing officials to set up a sting.
“A day later, Sokserei Sorphea called Lamit through the phone that the prosecutor had kept and talked about dealing drugs, and then an appointment was made…. So, we arrested [Sorphea] about 100 meters from the provincial hall,” he said.
A gram of crystal methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and three mobile phones were seized during the two-day operation.
Mr. Lamit’s father, who serves as deputy chief of the provincial police’s migration bureau, said his son had spent almost three months in a drug rehabilitation center but continued to use narcotics.
“My son is a person who cannot be advised, does not listen to anybody. I have not recognized him as my son for many years,” Lt. Col. Chea said.
Chief of Kampong Thom commune council, Traok Lim, said that he would wait for the court’s ruling before deciding what action to take in the case of Mr. Sorphea.
“I cannot intervene in his case and his replacement or no replacement or other possible measures depend on the party after the judicial body’s decision,” he said.