A Nigerian man, Amechi Okeke, and his Vietnamese wife, Ho Thi Nhu Thuy, have been sentenced to 25 years in prison after been found guilty at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of smuggling 1.5 kg of heroin from Cambodia to Australia.
Samuel Amechi Okeke, 34, and his 26-year-old wife Ho Thi Nhu Thuy, were arrested in July 2014 after customs officials in Australia intercepted 10 backpacks lined with heroin that they had mailed from the Dangkao district post office in May that year, according to police.
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They were subsequently charged with drug trafficking. During the trial on February 2016, Ms. Thuy admitted to mailing the backpacks but said she did so at the request of a friend and was unaware they contained heroin. Mr. Okeke claimed he knew nothing about the drugs.
However, on Thursday, the court ruled that he did. The court decided to sentence, firstly, Samuel Amechi Okeke, 34, Nigerian, to 25 years in prison and fine him 50 million riel [about $12,500], and then announcing same sentence for Ms. Thuy.
Mr. Okeke, who has been in provisional detention at Phnom Penh’s maximum-security Prey Sar prison since his arrest in 2014, is also facing trafficking charges over 13 kg of methamphetamine seized from a Cambodian man in Phnom Penh late last month—the biggest drug seizure of the year.
According to military police, the drugs were part of a distribution ring being operated by Mr. Okeke with four other inmates. All six suspects in the case were also charged with drug trafficking on March 4.
A Vietnam court in August 2015, reduced a death sentence previously handed to 33 year old Nigerian man, Ejiogu Benjamin Ikechukwu, for bringing methamphetamine into Vietnam, to life imprisonment. Ikechukwu was arrested in June 2012 with 3.3 kilograms of the banned drug concealed in metal tubes and a laptop charger in his luggage as he flew to Tan Son Nhat in Vietnam.