Marijuana worth $7 million seized in Cambodia

Cambodian police have confiscated 1.5 tonnes of marijuana worth more than $7 million packed into coffee bags on Tuesday.

As part of an ongoing drug crackdown, the Cambodian law enforcement forces busted nearly 1500 kg of marijuana packed in Dao coffee bags and three local citizens were taken into custody. Dao is a brand of Laos coffee popular in neighboring Cambodia as well as Thailand. The authorities described it as their biggest seizure of the drug since they started cracking down on it 15 years ago.

“The marijuana was packed into bags of Dao coffee, which was smuggled from neighboring Laos into Cambodia,” said Gen Khieu Samon, head of interior ministry’s anti-drug office. “They planned to smuggle the marijuana to other countries where the price is high. The seized marijuana is worth more than $7 million in Western markets,” Mr. Samon added during a press conference.

Moreover, around 1.5 kilograms of cannabis oil worth $75,000 was also found along with the coffee bags. The authorities presented the drug haul, the suspects and seized equipment to the media in Phnom Penh. The suspects could face up to life in prison if convicted, according to a court official.

Cambodian police have confiscated about 90 kgs of illegal drugs in the first half of this year, including 55 kg of methamphetamine and heroin in June, and they have arrested more than 2,000 traffickers. For more than a decade, Cambodia has become a popular smuggling route for narcotics as neighboring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in the early 2000s.

The Cambodian drug trade includes cannabis, CNS stimulants, and high grade heroin. However, the country remains a major supplier of marijuana to countries in East and Southeast Asia as well as other parts of the world.  The rates of HIV/AIDS are increasing in Cambodia due to intravenous drugs usage. IMAGE/thestar

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