Two Arrested Along New Drug Route in Pursat

A kilogram of methamphetamine was confiscated and two men were apprehended in Pursat province on Tuesday by police who said the arrests had uncovered a new drug supply route in the country.

Ke Tum, 31, who smuggled the methamphetamine out of Pailin and Battambang provinces, and Be Mlis, 34, a drug dealer working in Pursat, were arrested by undercover officers in a sting, said Yen Panharith, a bureau chief at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.

“Both drug middlemen from Battambang province sold to our undercover police, who [have been trying to] pretend to buy their drugs since July,” Mr. Panharith said.

“We contacted them first through some Vietnamese drug users, and then we went to Vietnam and used a Vietnamese telephone number to call them with an order to buy 1 kg of methamphetamine for $39,000.”

“We made the middlemen believe us,” he said. “At first, in July, they refused, as they wanted to receive our money first. The second time, they agreed to sell a kilogram for $39,000. We arrested them in O’Sandan commune, Krakor district.”

Mr. Panharith said the pair was part of a new supply route for smuggling drugs to Cambodia’s west, eschewing the usual process of moving narcotics city-by-city from southeastern Laos, which allowed police a chance to catch the suspects at each handover.

Instead, he said, some smugglers are now driving drugs directly from Laos through Phnom Penh and Battambang until they reach Pailin on the Thai border, where they then fill orders made in nearby cities.

“The middlemen smuggled through a different way—from Pailin and Battambang to Pursat. Usually, the drugs are smuggled from Laos to Strung Treng, then to Phnom Penh, then onto Battambang,” Mr. Panharith explained.

Pursat provincial anti-drug police chief Si Savin said the two suspects were being held in the provincial police headquarters overnight and would be sent to the provincial court Thursday to be charged.

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