A Laotian man charged on Sunday with drug trafficking after trying to sell 5 kg of crystal methamphetamine to undercover police officers is among thousands of dealers and users that have been arrested in a government crackdown since the beginning of the year.
Maisorn Sainhakham, 39, was arrested in Stung Treng City’s Samakki commune at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, after agreeing to sell officers the meth at $20,000 per kg, said Yin Panharith, a bureau chief at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.
“After we inspected to make sure it was drugs, we arrested him immediately,” he said.
Mr. Sainhakham, who is being held at the provincial prison, told police he was hired by others to facilitate the transaction. But Mr. Panharith said: “He did not have a middleman. He ordered [another person] directly to bring him the drugs.”
The alleged accomplice escaped back to Laos, he added.
The government launched a six-month anti-drug crackdown on January 1, targeting dealers and users.
As of Sunday, 5,087 people had been arrested for drug-related crimes, including 2,490 suspected drug dealers, 2,596 alleged users and one alleged processor and producer of drugs, according to a post on the National Police website.
About 25 kg of illegal drugs, including about 7.5 kg of marijuana, were confiscated in the same period, police said.
Drug rehabilitation service providers have said the campaign should focus on helping users get off drugs rather than arresting them.