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US Official Pushes for Prosecution of Drug Suspects

The suspects arrested in an April raid of a drugs lab in Kampong Speu province need to be prosecuted, but a case against them should be legal and proper, a US political officer said.

Jennifer Spande, who attended a ceremony where drug-making chemicals was destroyed Thursday, said the US was counting on Cambodia's emerging rule of law to fairly prosecute the men behind the methamphetamine production.

"Certainly we would hope that the trial would be speedy and that it would be impartial," she said, adding that the suspects should have competent defense.

The April raid led to the arrest of a handful of workers at the drug lab in Kampong Speu province, as well as at least two suspected ring leaders. One of those, Oum Chhay, apparently leapt to his death from a police building in Phnom Penh during interrogation. A second man, Chea Long, is still under arrest.

Approximately 2.8 kilograms of six different drug-making chemicals were burned in the ceremony Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Keng Savong, deputy director of the national anti-drug authority, said authorities would continue pursuit of the drug production "criminal group" and "send it to the court in the near future."

UN Office on Drug and Crime representative Lars Pedersen said he was encouraged by the commitment government authorities showed in the drugs clean-up.