Kampot Police Official Arrested for Methamphetamine Trafficking

Police in Kampot province put one of their own teaching officers under surveillance for drug trafficking and found crystal methamphetamine during a raid on the 45-year-old deputy chief’s house, an official said.

Touch Somuth was arrested at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday during the raid in Kompong Trach district’s Russei Srok Khang Lech commune and 45.17 grams of meth was seized, provincial police chief Mao Chanmathurith said. Mr. Somuth is set to appear at the Kampot Provincial Court today.

“He had been under investigation by our police officers for about one month,” Mr. Chanmathurith said on Wednesday. “We arrested him at his house after receiving a tipoff and discovered 50 small packages and two larger packages of meth.”

Mr. Somuth “confessed that he had been trafficking drugs for about one year,” Mr. Chanmathurith said.

He said the suspect had overseen the training of other police officials as the deputy chief of the provincial police’s training section and his arrest would have wider implications for the force.

“I think it can affect the reputation of the police force nationwide, but we have to arrest a person who has committed wrong, even if they are in a high position,” Mr. Chanmathurith said.

It is the first time a police officer has been arrested during the enforcement of a national anti-drug campaign in Kampot province, he said.

The government recently announced the campaign, which aims to broaden its rehabilitation services and crack down on drug trafficking in response to an alarming increase in identified drug users.

Saran Komsath, spokesman for the National Police, and Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, could not be reached for comment.

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