Cambodia seizes 1.5 tons of marijuana worth $7 million (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

Cambodian police on Tuesday showed off a seizure of nearly 1.5 tons of marijuana worth more than $7 million packed into coffee bags, part of an ongoing drug crackdown in the country.

General Khieu Samon, head of the interior ministry’s anti-drug office, said 1,487 kilograms (3,278 pounds) of marijuana was seized on Friday in Phnom Penh during raids in which three Cambodians were arrested.

The marijuana was packed into bags of Dao coffee, which was smuggled from neighboring Laos into Cambodia, he told reporters during a press conference in which officers presented the drug haul, the suspects and seized equipment to the media.

Dao is a brand of Laos coffee popular in Cambodia.

They planned to smuggle the marijuana to third countries where the price is high the seized marijuana is worth more than $7 million in Western markets, Khieu Samon added.

Around 1.5 kg of marijuana oil worth at least $75,000 was also confiscated.

Khieu Samon said foreign ringleaders were thought to be behind the smuggling network without naming which nation.

The three suspects face up to life in jail if convicted, a court official said.

Police said they had confiscated about 90 kg of drugs over the first seven months of this year-including 55 kg of methamphetamine and heroin from Laos that was seized in June-as well as arresting more than 2,000 traffickers.

Cambodia has become a popular smuggling route for narcotics, particularly methamphetamine and heroin, since neighboring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in the early 2000s.

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