A Romanian man who attempted to smuggle nearly half a million dollars worth of cocaine in his luggage through Phnom Penh International Airport, Cambodia and a Nigerian national identified as Chukwuemeka Ibe, 40, to whom he allegedly intended to hand off the drugs, were arrested on Sunday, August14.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Mok Chito said on Monday that Adrian-Calin Varadi, 35, had arrived from Brazil and was apprehended by authorities at the airport at about 4 p.m. in response to a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“We received information in the morning from the DEA. The DEA informed us there was a possibility that a suspect was on a flight from Brazil to Cambodia…suspected of trafficking drugs. Among the passengers, we suspected one person, a Romanian national. So we checked his belongings and found nearly 20 packages of cocaine.”
The drugs weighed nearly 5 kg. Upon interrogation, the Romanian led police to his alleged Nigerian contact, Ibe, who was arrested at a Phnom Penh guesthouse on Sunday evening.
“Mr. Varadi came to Cambodia in order to give the drugs to another person who came from Thailand. We already arrested the person who came to take the items.” Mok Chito added.
He said both suspects were being detained at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department. Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said Mr. Varadi had been traveling alone with the drugs in his suitcase. He said the cocaine had a market value of nearly $500,000 and was likely destined for another country.
“There is no market for cocaine in Cambodia,” he said.
Photo credit: Cambodia National Police weighed the drugs at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Sunday.