Police Bust Two Phnom Penh Crystal Meth Dens; 17 Arrested

More than 100 military police officers carried out coordinated raids on two crystal methamphetamine dens in Phnom Penh shortly after midnight Thursday, arresting 17 people including known armed robbers, according to officials.

Municipal military police commander Roth Sreang, who led the operation, said the raids were the culmination of a two-month investigation into a criminal network suspected of drug dealing and robbery.

Major General Sreang said 11 people were arrested just after midnight at O’Yes Guesthouse in Daun Penh district, where military police caught drug users smoking crystal meth and confiscated a quantity of the street drug from suspected dealers.

A second raid, he said, was carried out 20 minutes later in Tropaing Chhuok village—a slum in Sen Sok district whose maze of wooden walkways are a notorious distribution hub for crystal meth—where six people were apprehended inside a single hut.

“We arrested everyone at the two locations, whether they were big or small players, but the main thing is we need to carry out investigations so we have enough evidence to charge them,” Maj. Gen. Sreang said.

Numerous raids have been carried out in Tropaing Chhuok village in recent months, but drug dealers regularly evade arrest, leaving police to round up low-level distributors and addicts.

Maj. Gen. Sreang said that at least three of those arrested there yesterday were pre-identified targets of the raid, as they are believed to be significant drug dealers, adding that the group is also believed to be responsible for a string of armed robberies.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito on Thursday said the geography of the area made raids like Thursday’s difficult to execute.

“Sen Sok, Meanchey and Dangkao districts hide many drug dealers and robbers because they have chaotic places that are difficult to access, making it difficult to find and arrest them, but in these raids, we had already investigated and identified the main suspects,” he said.

General Tito said an inventory of the seized drugs was ongoing.

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