The number of drug-related seizures and arrests rose in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to a National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) report obtained Thursday.
The report, which has yet to be made public, found increases in the number of heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine and marijuana busts in Cambodia.
According to the report, police at the Ministry of Interior handled 680 drug-related cases during the nine-month period, up from 593 last year. Of those cases, 1,301 suspects were arrested in the nine-month period, an increase from 1,264 last year.
The NACD said those arrested for drugs hailed from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, China, Nigeria, South Korea, Ireland, Peru, India, Indonesia and Romania, and “all were sent to the court, according to the law.”
In the first nine months of this year, police seized 19 kg of methamphetamine pills, up from nearly 9 kg in 2012; 26 kg of crystal methamphetamine, compared to 20 kg the year before; 9.6 kg of heroin, up from 182 grams in 2012; 1 kg of ketamine, compared to 814 grams; and 168 kg of marijuana, up from 2.4 kg.
There was a significant drop in cocaine-related busts, however, from 29.4 kg in the first nine months of 2012 to 9.6 kg this year.
“The drugs were smuggled across our country by criminal drug groups, and we confiscated some coming from the Golden Triangle [Burma, Laos and Thailand] into some of Cambodia’s northern provinces,” the report says.
On Wednesday, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said a 22 percent increase in the production of opium in the Golden Triangle is due in part to an increase in the demand for heroin in Cambodia.
“It is Myanmar heroin that is trafficked to, in and through Cambodia’s borders,” said Jason Eligh, the UNODC’s Burma country manager, after the release of a report on opium production in the Golden Triangle.
“The increase in Myanmar heroin production is caused, in part, by increases in regional opiate demand, including in Cambodia,” he said.
Clay Nayton, the UNODC’s Cambodia drug treatment officer, said the majority of heroin used in Cambodia is consumed in Phnom Penh and that the majority of the country’s estimated 1,400 drug users who inject are using heroin.
According to the UNODC, Cambodia is considered a “major transit country” for illicit drugs.
This was echoed in the NACD report, which describes Cambodia as “a target for drug-smuggling groups,” who transfer drugs to other countries.