Five foreigners were arrested in Sihanoukville over the weekend and drug-making facilities were uncovered after a suspicious landlord called authorities about an American tenant’s unusual behavior, police said on Monday.
Three foreigners were arrested outside a restaurant where they were sitting together, preparing to exchange drugs, before police searched a residential bungalow at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and found various drugs and drug-making equipment, said Sun Sophat, deputy police chief in Preah Sihanouk province.
The three—identified as Melnyk Volodymyr, 27, of Ukraine, Hannah Sirkia, 28, of Finland and Lenya Vlkoval, 26, of the Czech Republic—were brought to the provincial police headquarters for questioning on Saturday.
Mr. Volodymyr told police that the drugs and equipment belonged to American Mikhail Grafman, 52, who was arrested at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday along with his girlfriend, Elmira Mukhametianova, 30, from Russia, Mr. Sophat said.
Mr. Grafman, who was born in Belarus, admitted under questioning that he produced and sold drugs, he said.
Mr. Grafman told police he rented the bungalow in Pi commune, which he used as a lab to produce drugs, while he resided in a different bungalow in Buon commune with his girlfriend, Mr. Sophat said.
Police had been investigating the alleged drug activity for about 10 days with the cooperation of Mr. Grafman’s landlord, who became suspicious of his prolonged absences from the Pi commune house, he said.
“According to the landlord, he showed up every five to six days, and every time he stayed inside the room for five to six hours before he came outside,” he said.
In Song, an officer for the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department, who went to the province to identify the confiscated drugs, said police found about 900 tablets of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and powdered synthetics used in making the tablets.
In total, the drugs weighed about 0.5 kilograms, Mr. Song said.
He said the tablets sold for $20 each, making the seized tablets worth at least $18,000.
Mr. Grafman, who told police he got the raw materials for the drugs from China, was arrested for drug production, while Mr. Volodymyr and Ms. Vlkoval were arrested for drug trafficking, and Ms. Sirkia and Ms. Mukhametianova for drug use, Mr. Song said.
The five were detained last night at the provincial police headquarters for further questioning and are expected to appear in court today.
soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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