Drug seizures jumped last year, while drug arrests remained relatively steady, according to the annual report from the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) released Monday.
As in 2012, methamphetamine retained its position as the most commonly seized type of drug.
Police confiscated 17.3 kg of methamphetamine pills last year, a jump from the 10.6 kg seized in 2012. Some 32.4 kg of methamphetamine powder was seized last year, compared to 28 kg in 2012, according to the NACD report.
There was a massive spike in the amount of heroin seized: 38.3 kg was confiscated in 2013, up from just 319 grams in 2012. Marijuana also saw a big jump from 2.4 kg in 2012 to 168.5 kg last year.
Some 12.8 kg of cocaine was seized, a drop from 41 kg in 2012, while ketamine seizures remained the same at 1 kg for both years.
Police and military police arrested 1,830 people in 889 drug cases last year, up slightly from 1,788 arrests in 818 cases in 2012, the report said. People arrested included nationals of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Nigeria, South Korea, Ireland, Peru, India, Indonesia, Romania, Spain, France and Australia.
Cambodia is considered a “major transit country” for illicit drugs, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC.
In a report released in November, the UNODC attributed a rise in demand for heroin in Cambodia to an increase in the amount being produced in Burma.
Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the NACD, said that drug-trafficking crimes increased across the board because the police are working harder to disrupt drug rings.
“When the police were busy guarding the national elections, smugglers had a chance to commit the [drug] crimes, but they couldn’t escape from the police,” he said.
Ek Sivandorn, deputy provincial police chief in charge of the border in Stung Treng province, said drugs from Burma, Laos and China are frequently trafficked into the province “because the border is easy to cross.”
The NACD report said: “Smugglers transported cocaine from South America or Central America and methamphetamine came from the African region across international airports with the purpose of continuing on to a third country.”
Two heroin hauls were from Australia, while drugs continued to be trafficked between Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, according to the report.
In addition, 26 cars, 270 vehicles, and 51 million riel, or about $1.2 million, were seized by authorities. Confiscations of foreign currencies included $30,417, 30,240 Thai baht, and more than 382 million Vietnamese dong, the NACD said.
sovuthy@cambodiadaily.com
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