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Police, FBI Bust Seven in Major Drug Raid

Cambodian police working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested seven people and seized 16 kilograms of heroin, following three months of investigation, officials said Monday. Police also found counterfeit US dollars in the Oct. 2 raid.

“In the operation, we did an investigation and tracked [the suspects] down for almost three months, with the support of the FBI representative in Cambodia,” said Chhay Sinarith, chief of the Interior Ministry’s security department.

Suspects were arrested in Phnom Penh and Stung Treng province. The raid included the arrest of Lam Sokha, a suspected trafficker who has been arrested and released in recent years, police and court officials said.

The seven suspects were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday and would be questioned by prosecutors this week, officials said.

Police said the heroin moved through neighboring countries through Stung Treng, which borders Laos.

The discovery of heroin, crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” drug production and counterfeit money made the raid a major case, Chhay Sinarith said.

The US State Department praised Cambodia for its anti-drug efforts in 2009, but said the country faces increasing problems of consumption, trafficking and the production of dangerous drugs.

The State Department warned that crackdowns on trafficking in Thailand and China had made Cambodia an attractive route for traffickers, while internally, use of amphetamines, including ice, was escalating.