Two Arrested in Latest Methamphetamine Bust

Military police in Stung Treng province on Friday arrested two Cambodian men with roughly a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine they had trafficked across the border from Laos, a police official said Sunday.

Kham Pham, 62, and Sun Sayakphun, 53, were arrested at 11:35 a.m. Friday while transporting their illicit cargo on a motorbike through a forested area of Siem Pang district’s Sre Sambor commune, just 2 km from the border, said Sao Sarem, deputy commander of the provincial military police.

“Both of them are Cambodian, but they fled to Laos in 1970. They speak and write both languages well,” Mr. Sarem said of the suspects.

“They have used many tactics to smuggle drugs across the border to their boss in Stung Treng province, and we have spent many months following [them],” he said, adding that this pair is currently awaiting trial at the provincial prison.

Mr. Sarem said that since the beginning of the year, military police in Stung Treng have made arrests in 12 drug-trafficking cases, most of them involving methamphetamine in crystal, pill or powder form. “We have arrested both Laos nationals and Cambodians,” he said.

On August 24 and 25, military police in the northern province arrested 16 people involved in the smuggling, sale and purchase of more than 3,000 methamphetamine pills. Just four days later, on August 29, anti-drug police in neighboring Ratanakkiri province arrested a serial narcotics smuggler with more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine.

In March, Interior Minister Sar Kheng accused officials working at Stung Treng’s porous border checkpoints—long a gateway for drugs originating in Laos, Burma and Thailand—of colluding with traffickers.

“The normal people cannot [traffic drugs] unless the powerful people do,” Mr. Kheng said at the time.

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