PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian police said Tuesday they confiscated nearly 1.5 tons of marijuana in what they described as their biggest seizure of the drug since they started cracking down on it 15 years ago.
The head of the Interior Ministry's anti-drug unit, Gen. Khieu Samon, told reporters that the marijuana came from Laos and was supposed to be shipped to a third country that he refused to name, saying the case remained under investigation.
He added that police were seeking to arrest the suspected mastermind, whom he described as a Westerner without revealing more details. Three Cambodians were arrested at different locations over the weekend in the Cambodian capital.
Khieu Samon said the marijuana, packed in boxes alongside coffee, is worth about $7 million and that about 1 ½ liters of cannabis oil was also seized.
Cambodia used to maintain a laissez-faire attitude toward marijuana until 15 years ago, when under Western pressure it implemented a ban on growing it, and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself led the first raid on a plantation growing it.
Cambodia has become a transit point for illegal drugs including heroin and methamphetamine because of its porous borders and lax law enforcement.