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04 March 2024

Cambodian anti-drug chief jailed for trafficking


A Cambodian court on Thursday sentenced the former chief of the country's anti-drug agency and his aide to life in jail for corruption and narcotics trafficking, a court official said.

Moek Dara, who used to head the National Authority for Combating Drugs, and his subordinate Chea Leng were found guilty of involvement in 32 cases of trafficking, prosecutor Phann Vanarath told AFP.

The pair were also convicted of accepting bribes from drug dealers by the court in northwestern Banteay Meanchey province.

A third official, who remains at large, was sentenced to 25 years in jail, the prosecutor said.

"The verdict is a key message to corrupt people," Phann Vanarath said.

The court also ordered Moek Dara and Chea Leng to pay a fine of more than $220,000 and more than $20,000 respectively and confiscated properties from all three defendents.

Cambodia has ramped up its war on drugs in recent months, resulting in hundreds of arrests, some involving senior officials.

Two high-ranking Cambodian army generals were arrested late last year for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine.

Cambodia became a popular smuggling route for narcotics, particularly methamphetamines and heroin, after neighbouring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in 2002.