Eight Nigerians have been arrested for running a drug trafficking cartel inside a church in Cambodia.
In a report carried by TCD, the eight men, Nnamezie Victor, Francis Nnamdi, Sunday Nwabuisi, Tony Mmaduka Chukwuonye, Okorom Kizito, Favour Nnabuife Okorom, Maduka Simon Ukandu, and Izuchukwu Chukwuma, and a Cambodian woman, Mam Vinyong, were accused dealing in crystal methamphetamine from the church, with the Vinyong claiming she had no idea that the smart phone boxes she delivered to the church in 2014 were filled with drugs.
During their trial on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the prosecution stated that Okorom and Vinyong were questioned over their involvement in a crystal methamphetamine ring that police discovered operated out of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Church in Meanchey district of Phnom Pehn, in 2014 and early 2015.
The police claimed that during investigations, Vinyong admitted to delivering smart phone boxes for Chukwuonye who was her boyfriend, but claimed she was unaware that there were drugs inside.
Vinyong claimed that she and Chukwuonye had became close after meeting at the church following the end of her previous relationship, and that he had paid for powdered milk for her baby.
In her lead evidence, Vinyong said:
"At the end of October and early November, I delivered the goods two or three times, and in December, I delivered them one more time. I was paid $100 per day for acting as a courier. Mr. Tony just told me they contained valuable objects and I thought they might be brand-new smartphones."
But the Bureau Chief at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department, Roeung Pheap, refuted Vinyong’s claim of innocence, saying she was part of the team and knew exactly what she was ferrying for them.
"Before we went to arrest her, our undercover officers reported that she was delivering the drugs to other dealers, and we know Mr. Tony was the one who often ordered her to do it," he said.
The pleas of the Nigerians were denied while they are to await their verdicts on September 12, 2016.