Cambodia’s Ex-Drug Czar Gets Life For Trafficking

By McCarton Ackerman 01/09/12

There's not much hope if the head of your National Anti-Drug Trafficking Department is a corrupt drug dealer.

Dara fields questions outside the courtroom.
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Former Cambodian drug czar Moek Dara was sentenced sentenced to life in prison last Thursday for masterminding illegal drug trafficking and accepting bribes. Upon his arrest in January 2011, he was serving as the secretary general for the National Anti-Drug Trafficking Department. “I did not commit any crime like the accusation. It’s life imprisonment, sentencing me (as though) I am a mastermind in drug trafficking, but there is not even one pill of drug,” said Dara after his sentencing. He plans to appeal the verdict, which he has one month to do under Cambodian law. Although the country has outlawed the death penalty for drug trafficking, Cambodian drug laws and treatment of addicts remain among the strictest in the world. Two of Dara’s accomplices in the corruption racket have also received lengthy sentences: Chea Leng, former Ministry of Interior anti-drug chief, was sentenced to life in prison while Morn Doeun, who is currently in hiding, was sentenced to 25 years in absentia.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.