Man Charged Over Smuggling Cocaine in Keyboard

The Siem Reap Provincial Court on Saturday charged a Vietnamese man with possessing and transporting illegal drugs after he was arrested on Thursday at the Siem Reap International Airport with 5.25 kg of cocaine hidden inside a musical keyboard, a court official said Sunday.

The suspect, Le Van Dang, flew to Siem Reap from Kuala Lumpur on Thursday with the keyboard, which was singled out for inspection by customs officials because it looked “unusually heavy,” police said last week.

Following his arrest, Mr. Van Dang immediately confessed to having smuggled the cocaine, which he said originated in Ecuador. He said he had intended to bring the cocaine into Vietnam via Bavet City.

Investigating Judge Koy Sao said Sunday that he charged the suspect on Saturday and ordered that he be sent to the provincial prison to await trial. He said a sample of the cocaine had been sent to anti-drug police for analysis.

“If he was carrying 80 grams or more of pure cocaine, the suspect could face imprisonment for 20 to 30 years and a fine of 50 to 100 million riel [about $12,500 to $25,000],” Judge Sao said, adding that authorities believed Mr. Van Dang was part of a larger network of traffickers.

“This is not a small case,” he said.

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