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Counter-Drug Efforts See a Boost in 2011

Cambodian officers burn some three tones of various drugs are seized in the nation wide of this country at the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, June 2, 2009. Cambodian authorities torched nearly 3 tons of herbs used to produce "herbal ecstasy" a

Cambodian anti-drug forces have made increasing arrests, but the country still faces trafficking and production by criminals, authorities said Tuesday.

Police “suppressed” 350 drug offenses in 2010, up from 309 the year before, said You Sunlong, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs. Authorities arrested 684 drug offenders last year, he said, up from 615 the year before.

The major increase in counter-narcotics has come this year, with 475 alleged drug offenders already arrested in the first three months alone.

However, You Sunlong said Cambodia remains attractive to drug producers and traffickers.

“Our point of challenge is that the criminals still have the ambition of continuing tricks in all forms of trafficking, distribution, production and renovation of drug quality,” he said.

The drugs are then smuggled to other countries or consumed locally, he said. Cambodia has “between 5,000 and 6,000 drug users,” he said, 60 percent of whom are “youths.”

Drugs are also brought into Cambodia through its northeastern provinces, the Phnom Penh International Airport and the port of Preah Sihanouk province—and then smuggled on to Thailand and Vietnam.

The counter-drug authority confiscated nearly 150,000 amphetamine tablets last year, along with nearly 7,000 grams of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” 781 grams of heroin and 277 grams of dry marijuana.

Those numbers were a decrease from the year before, You Sunlong said.