Police Make Second Arrest in Poipet Drug Raid Case

Twelve days after Banteay Meanchey provincial police confiscated nearly 13 million smuggled pills containing pseudoephedrine, a precursor for methamphetamine, a second suspect was arrested Thursday in Poipet City, police officials said Friday.

Thuon Baraing, 35, was arrested Thursday in Poipet commune’s Palalay village, according to provincial police chief Hun Hean.

“The arrest was conducted according to the provincial court’s warrant to bring the suspect for questioning,” Mr Hean said.

Police are also searching for Ms Baraing’s husband, Nget Siphan, in connection with the case, Mr Hean said, adding that Mr Siphan’s whereabouts were unknown. Mr Hean was unable to elaborate on the exact nature of either Ms Baraing’s or Mr Siphan’s suspected role in the smuggling operation.

Following a yearlong investigation, police raided a Poipet commune warehouse on Aug 22, confiscating 48 boxes containing about 12,850,000 pills of smuggled flu medicine in what officials said was the largest ever seizure of its kind. The pills, manufactured by Korean firm Cho-A Pharm Co, contain the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is used in some countries as an over-the-counter decongestant but can be used to manufacture the illegal drug methamphetamine.

During the raid, police arrested An Pheakdey, 35, who officials said had been under surveillance by the National Authority for Combating Drugs for a year. Mr Pheakdey was charged with transporting ingredients for drug manufacturing and placed in provisional detention at Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison.

Mr Hean said Friday that police were continuing their investigation and hoped to make more arrests.

“Our police continue hunting and searching for more suspects involved with these smuggled drugs,” Mr Hean said, adding that he could not disclose how many suspects the police were looking for.

Tan Seihak Dechak, Banteay Meanchey provincial court deputy prosecutor, said Friday that Ms Baraing was being questioned by an investigating judge, and had not yet been charged.

“It is the biggest ever case of drug smuggling,” Mr Dechak said. “Particularly, just one person could not operate it, which is why the investigating judge needs to question any people involved, so that whoever stays behind this massive operation…will never be able to stay out of prison.”


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