Three Jailed in Drug Smuggling Cases at Phnom Penh Courts

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday imprisoned three people found guilty of drug trafficking, while the Court of Appeal heard the case of a military police officer convicted in 2011 of importing precursors chemicals to produce narcotics.

Judge Kim Dany sentenced two men to 13 years in jail and a woman to 12 years in jail and fined them all 60 million riel (about $15,000) after finding them guilty of trafficking 750 grams of methamphetamine.

Bun Ly, 43, Meas Samnang, 46, and Ly Sophal, 45, were arrested in Phnom Penh in June after police found the drugs in Samnang’s car.

In a separate case at the same court, Thai nationals Thanyanat Sama Arphat, 31, and Wong Trakool Sangdao, 40, were tried on charges that they smuggled 694 grams of ketamine and cocaine from Brazil into Cambodia in May with the intention to smuggle the haul to Thailand.

“Police found the drugs in Ms. Sama Arphat’s shorts and found that Ms. Sangdao was going to…Thailand,” said Yeng Bunna, chief of the legal procedures bureau at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking department.

Ms. Arphat told the court that a Nigerian man, who promised to pay her $3,000, had coerced her into taking the drugs to Cambodia from Brazil. A verdict is due on March 27.

Separately, the Court of Appeal tried former military police officer An Virakpheakdey, 42, who was sentenced along with another man, Nget Sithat, to eight years in prison by the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court in May 2011 after both were found guilty of importing precursor chemicals.

In court Tuesday, Mr. Virakpheakdey denied owning the chemicals, claiming instead that he merely facilitated their entry “to Cambodian territory for a commission fee” of about $5,000. A verdict will be delivered on March 13.

The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board released its 2013 report Tuesday, saying, “Cambodia has increasingly been used as a regional hub for the transport of illicit consignments of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.”

(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)

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