Laotian Man Arrested for Trafficking Nearly 5 kg of Crystal Meth

A three-month investigation by anti-drug officers led to the arrest of a Laotian man in Stung Treng province on Saturday for trafficking nearly 5 kg of crystal methamphetamine into Cambodia, an Interior Ministry official said.

Chakli Cheutali, 21, was detained as he walked along a road carrying a suitcase in Khamphan village in Stung Treng City’s Samakki commune, according to In Song, administration bureau chief at the ministry’s anti-drug department.

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Chakli Cheutali sits behind a pile of crystal methamphetamine at Stung Treng provincial police headquarters following his arrest on Saturday, in a photograph supplied by the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.

A search of the suitcase found five wrapped packages that contained 4,978 grams of crystal methamphetamine, with a street value of about $100,000, Mr. Song said. He added that the drugs were likely to have come from the Golden Triangle area—where Laos, Thailand and Burma meet—one of Asia’s main opium-producing areas.

The drugs were destined for Phnom Penh and Cambodian provinces bordering Thailand, including Battambang, Pailin and Banteay Meanchey, for distribution across the border, Mr. Song said.

He said that Mr. Cheutali, from Laos’ Houaphanh province, was a small player in the trafficking operation.

“He is just the mule. His boss is in Laos,” Mr. Song said. “We were hunting many months already before we could arrest him.”

Kong Kimsun, deputy head of Stung Treng provincial police station’s anti-crime office, said that Mr. Cheutali was being held at the provincial police station and would be sent to the provincial court today.

Cambodia is planning to send a delegation of anti-drug officials to Laos for a meeting with their counterparts to discuss cooperation with the anti-drug officials to fight illicit drug crimes in the near future, Mr. Song said.

He said that they wanted to target identified leaders of drug trafficking rings in Laos whose mules have been arrested in Cambodia.

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