Seven men are scheduled to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court this morning in connection with the discovery of more than 100 kg of marijuana at a Dangkao district house, police said Sunday.
Police officials, however, gave conflicting reports on Sunday regarding initial claims that at least one of the seven drug smuggling suspects was an RCAF officer.
Interior Ministry Anti-Drug Department Chief Moek Dara said Friday that RCAF Lieutenant-Colonel Mam Bros was arrested on Thursday following a police operation at the Mittapheap Hotel in Phnom Penh. Police also raided a residence in Dangkao district where the marijuana and two machines used in the refining and packing process were discovered. A total of seven suspects were arrested, Moek Dara said.
On Sunday, Chan Sophal, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug Department, and Sok Chhour, chief of the department’s administration, denied any of the seven men had links to the RCAF.
“The seven involved in marijuana, none of them are RCAF soldiers…. Now they are in the custody of the Interior Ministry,” Chan Sophal said.
The marijuana was transported from Koh Kong province to Phnom Penh where it was being specially packed at the house in Dangkao district for transport overseas, Chan Sophal said, adding that the ringleader of the operation was still at large.
According to Chan Sophal, police had monitored the group for about four months. Adding to the conflicting claims regarding the identities of the suspects, deputy chief of Dangkao district police, Chuop Sok Heng, said Sunday that the owner of the house where the drugs were discovered was a former soldier.
Chuop Sok Heng also said that three other suspects in the group of seven may have been undercover military operatives, but declined to elaborate.