A British national was charged Friday with drug trafficking after a police raid on his Sihanoukville City hotel room Wednesday turned up a haul of methamphetamine and cannabis, officials said.
Tak Sarith, chief of the Preah Sihanouk provincial anti-drug trafficking office, said Robert Skilling, 28, was arrested at the Eden Hostel near Serendipity Beach with about 88 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of crystal methamphetamine and two methamphetamine tablets.
“We arrested him as he was relaxing in his room. Under questioning, he told police that the drugs were only small [quantities] for sharing with his friends and that he thought Cambodian police would not arrest him over the small amount,” said Mr. Sarith.
He added that Mr. Skilling was also found with $2,000 cash, scales and a crude pipe for smoking drugs. The British national faces between two and five years in prison if found guilty.
Sam Sophass, the owner of Eden Hostel, said the suspect—who according to his Facebook profile is from Kent, England—may have been the victim of a setup.
Ms. Sophass said that about an hour before the bust, which she witnessed, a group of Cambodian men had visited Mr. Skilling’s room, where they dropped off a bag.
“[Police] checked in the bag and it had crystal ice, not much, but in the pictures [on local media] there’s a lot,” she said. “I think somebody wants to try and rip him off…before he did [drugs] a little bit, but just him and his friends.”
The arrest comes as authorities attempt to halt a recent spike in crime carried out by and against foreigners in the tourist town. Earlier this month, the Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief was removed and replaced by Chuon Narin, former deputy chief of the Phnom Penh municipal force.
Huoth Vicheth, prosecutor for the provincial court, confirmed Friday that Mr. Skilling had been charged with drug trafficking.
“We have charged him with illegal drug possession and drug trafficking,” said Mr. Vicheth. “The evidence showed there is a lot of drugs, so how can he say it’s only for personal use?”
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