Venezuelan Caught With Cocaine in Siem Reap Airport Bust

A 23-year-old Venezuelan woman arrested at Siem Reap International Airport with more than a kilogram of cocaine hidden in the lining of her suitcase was charged on Tuesday with drug trafficking, officials said.

Responding to a tip, authorities arrested the woman, identified by provincial police as Nabelis del Carmen Garcia Guillen, soon after she arrived on Monday night from Brazil, with stops in Dubai and Bangkok, said Oum Kakrona, head of the airport’s immigration department.

Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said authorities had been tipped off by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and officials from other countries in the region.

Oum Amara, who heads the Siem Reap provincial anti-drug trafficking bureau, said customs officials found 1.39 kg of cocaine packed in a plastic bag and hidden inside the lining of the woman’s luggage.

“Because of cooperation between countries, we were able to communicate and share information,” which led to the arrest, he said.

Ms. Garcia Guillen, during questioning by anti-drug trafficking police at the airport, told officials she had been instructed by a Venezuelan-based ringleader to travel to Cambodia and await further instructions, Mr. Amara said.

She was detained at provincial police headquarters overnight and instructed by officials to contact the alleged ringleader, who directed her to travel to Hong Kong using a plane ticket they would send, he added.

Siem Reap Provincial Court officials charged her with drug trafficking on Tuesday afternoon and sent her to the provincial prison, Mr. Amara said.

Convictions for trafficking 80 grams or more of cocaine carry a sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment and fines from 40 million riel, or about $10,000, to 100 million riel, or about $25,000.

Another Venezuelan woman, 22-year-old Adelys Alviarez, was arrested last month at Phnom Penh International Airport after arriving from Brazil. She had nearly 1.45 kg of cocaine inside her suitcase, and was also charged with drug trafficking.

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