Man Arrested for Pushing Envelopes, Heroin

A Cambodian man has been ar­rest­ed and accused of smuggling her­oin through the mail to Aus­tralia, where he also has citizenship, a Ministry of Interior official said Wednesday.

Nheim Phala, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s counter-ter­­ror­ism unit, told reporters at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that po­lice seized 38 envelopes with a total of 333 grams of heroin in­side.

He said police were tipped to the al­leged scheme when postal workers started wondering about the large number of letters that the man was sending.

The letters were seized at different times, mostly from post offices around Phnom Penh, Nheim Pha­la said. On Jan 6, six envelopes were seized from the post office in Boeung Prolit commune, Prampi Ma­­kara district. Twenty-one more were seized the following day at the Wat Phnom post office and 11 let­ters were confiscated when po­lice arrested the man on Jan 10.

Nheim Phala said Chhourp Kong Sophara, 34, was sending the letters to different rental houses in Australia and had written fake Cam­bodian return addresses on the envelopes as well as fake names for the receivers. He said the suspect confessed this was the second time he had tried sending heroin to Australia by mail. Nheim Phala said the man told police he sent another 32 en­velopes, also with 333 grams of her­­oin bought in Phnom Penh, on Nov 30.

Chhourp Kong Sophara told po­lice he bought the heroin for $6,500 and was hoping to sell it in Aus­tralia for about $67,500 to $75,000.

Nheim Phala said that according to the man’s Australian passport, he had entered Cambodia seven times in the past, most re­cently on Dec 31. Nheim Phala said the man confessed he was selling the heroin be­­cause he did not make much mon­ey as a farmer in Australia.

Phnom Penh Chief Prosecutor Ouk Savuth charged Chhourp Kong Sophara under the anti-drug law and if convicted, he could face up to 20 years in jail and a fine of about $12,500.


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