Police: Amphetamine Bust is Largest Ever

Military Police seized more than 61,000 methamphetamine pills and arrested one man in Banteay Meanchey province on Wednes­day in what officials believe is Cam­bodia’s largest-ever seizure of the drug.

The drug haul was discovered in a vehicle near Poipet—along with two handguns and an AK-47 rifle, provincial Military Police Chief Rath Srieng said.

Suspect Ngeth Savuth, 34, told military police he smuggled the drugs from Phnom Penh, but he would not identify who was be­hind the operation or whether the pills were produced in Cam­bo­dia, Rath Srieng said.

“This is the largest seizure of methamphetamines we have ever made,” he said.

Officials in neighboring Bat­tam­bang province also uncovered a marijuana plantation on Tuesday and destroyed 1,541 ma­ture plants in the former Khmer Rouge-controlled Samlot district.

“We destroyed all the marijuana plants and seedlings,” said Por Vannak, Battambang military police chief.

The plantation was tended by former Khmer Rouge soldiers who had turned to the illegal crop because of poverty, Por Vannak said. “The [suspects] escaped and we did not find out who supported them,” he said.

Three men and one woman were also arrested separately on Sunday and Monday peddling small amounts of methamphetamine pills in Battambang town, said Chea Thaun, Battambang deputy judicial police chief.

A senior anti-narcotics expert said Wednesday that police suspect the amphetamine haul discovered near Poipet was destined for Thailand.

In July, Thai police seized 430,000 methamphetamine pills in Bangkok that they believe originated in Cambodia.

Cambodian anti-drug officials said the size of that haul—worth some $244,000—indicated its origin was Burma or Laos, but may have passed through Cambodia to reach Thailand.

Production and consumption of amphetamines has increased in Cambodia in recent years. Offi­cials have also warned that Cam­bo­dia has become a smuggler’s “back door” out of the Gol­den Triangle—the notoriously lawless drug-producing mountainous border region between Bur­ma, Thailand and Laos.

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