Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday heard the case of a former major general with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and an accomplice who stand accused of illegal drug trafficking.
Chan Rithidy was arrested in August 2012 after police confiscated 5 kg of methamphetamine and pills and 1 kg of crystal methamphetamine from his villa in Meanchey district. His alleged accomplice, Deap Sunlay, was arrested later.
“Mr. Rithidy and Mr. Sunlay are charged with illegal drug trafficking,” presiding Judge Kim Dany said.
“We have evidence because police found drugs…in the residence of Mr. Rithidy.”
At the time of Mr. Rithidy’s arrest, police said that he was involved in smuggling large amounts of drugs into Cambodia from the Golden Triangle region of Laos, Burma and Thailand.
Undercover police had posed as drug dealers and offered to buy 200 grams of methamphetamine for $10,000 from Mr. Rithidy, which led to his arrest and the confiscation of narcotics.
Since then, police have prohibited Mr. Rithidy’s family from living in the three-floor villa, according to his lawyer, Nach Try.
“The police shut down the house and collected the furniture and all property…because they say that all the money came from drug trafficking,” Mr. Try said.
Although Mr. Rithidy admitted to possessing illegal narcotics, he said Tuesday that it had been the first time he had purchased drugs from Mr. Sunlay, 51.
“I accept the charges but ask the court that the property be given back to my client’s family,” Mr. Try said.
Mr. Sunlay’s account, however, differed from Mr. Rithidy’s.
“I met Mr. Rithidy in June 2007. He asked me to deal drugs with him,” and to go to meet a middleman in Laos to do so, he told the court.
A verdict in the case will be announced on November 26.