Nine people—eight Nigerian men and a Cambodian woman—were on Monday charged with drug trafficking for allegedly distributing crystal methamphetamine out of a church in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, officials said.
The nine were arrested Thursday at separate locations in Meanchey and Chamkar Mon districts in a sting by undercover anti-drug police, who arranged to buy 200 grams of methamphetamine from them, said Yin Panharith, acting chief of an Interior Ministry anti-drug bureau.
“They took the drugs from a church near Wat Sansamkosal in Meanchey district’s Boeng Tompun commune any time someone ordered the drugs,” he said, adding that police seized a total of 802.44 grams of the narcotic during the operation.
Mr. Panharith claimed the ringleader of the trafficking operation —who was not apprehended—was the deputy head of the church, whose name he could not provide.
“The ringleader went to Burma to get more drugs a day before the arrests,” he said.
The other nine were charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday, according to deputy prosecutor Keo Socheat.
“I charged them with drug trafficking,” he said. Mr. Panharith said the suspects were being held at the Interior Ministry.