Harsh Sentences Meted Out in 14-kg Methamphetamine Bust

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced a man and a woman to 25 years in prison each for conspiring with drug traffickers and sentenced three others in absentia to 30 years in prison for drug trafficking over a seizure of 14 kg of methamphetamine in March 2013.

Presiding Judge Mong Mony Sorphea laid down 25-year sentences against Long Vanthy, 45, and military officer Chrun Bun Noeun, 32, who were arrested in the raid two years ago in Pur Senchey district, in which police seized the drugs along with four cars and a gun.

“The court has decided to sentence the accused, Long Vanthy and Chrun Bun Noeun, to 25 years in jail, and to fine them 40 million riel [about $10,000],” Judge Mony Sorphea said, allowing both 30 days for appeal.

“The cars used for drug trafficking are confiscated,” he added.

The judge also sentenced Vong Kim Hann, 30; Chhorn Dara, 33; and Ros Srey Leak, 32, to 30 years in jail and fined them each 50 million riel, or about $12,500, for actively taking part in trafficking.

All three remain at large after escaping arrest during the March 2013 raid.

Ms. Vanthy, whose late husband Cheap Ky Eang was the suspected ringleader of the trafficking operation, was expressionless and ignored questions from reporters as she left the courtroom Thursday.

Cheap Ky Eang died of a heart attack in September while being detained in Prey Sar prison.

Pek Vannak, the lawyer for Ms. Vanthy and Mr. Bun Noeun, said his clients would appeal their 25-year sentences after the Khmer New Year holiday.

“It is the right of my clients,” Mr. Vannak said, explaining that Mr. Bun Noeun, the military officer, had been arrested while working on a special mission.

“He was just an undercover agent who was investigating the drug trafficking,” he said.

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