A 34-year-old Nigerian man, Samuel Amechi Okeke and his 26-year-old Vietnamese wife, Ho Thi Nhu Thuy, were sentenced to 25 years imprisonment after a Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Cambodia, found them guilty of trafficking 1.5 kg of heroin from Cambodia to Australia, in July, 2014.
The couple was handed down the sentence following their arrest after customs officials in Australia intercepted 10 backpacks lined with heroin that they had mailed from the Dangkao district post office in May of 2014, and the parcels were later traced to the Okekes, leading to their arrest.
During the trial on February 2016, Thuy admitted to mailing the backpacks but said she did so at the request of a friend and was unaware they contained heroin, while Okeke claimed he knew nothing about the drugs.
However, the presiding Judge, Than Leng , found them guilty and announced an identical sentence for Thuy and husband.
“The court decides to sentence, firstly, Samuel Amechi Okeke, 34, Nigerian, to 25 years in prison and fine him 50 million riel [about $12,500].”
A Deputy Bureau Chief at the Cambodian Interior Ministry’s Internal Security Department, Hun Rithy, who led the initial investigation into the case, said he was satisfied with the verdict.
“It is appropriate because they are husband and wife, and they colluded,” he said.
Okeke 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 in that country.
The intelligence agency describes the Nigerian who has been detention since his arrest in 2014, as the ring leader in a drug trafficking syndicate involving four other inmates.