Cambodia continues to face a significant and growing problem with narcotics consumption, trafficking, and production. Crackdowns on drug trafficking in Thailand and China in recent years have pushed traffickers to use alternate routes, including through Cambodia. The manufacturing, trafficking, and use of illicit narcotics within Cambodia, particularly of methamphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), has escalated and cuts across socio-economic lines. Cambodia is one of three countries in the region (along with China and Vietnam) known to process safrole oil, a precursor chemical used in the production of MDMA (ecstasy). Safrole oil extraction and production continued in 2014 despite remaining illegal in Cambodia.
Transnational criminal organizations from Asia and Africa continued to target Cambodia as a transit country or final destination for illicit drugs. Large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine from Burma entered Cambodia for domestic consumption and export to regional markets. Africa-sourced methamphetamine and South American-sourced cocaine were also smuggled into the country for further shipment to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, usually under the control of African drug trafficking syndicates operating in Phnom Penh.
The Cambodian National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) reported that methamphetamine accounted for 80 percent of the drug use within Cambodia in 2013. Cocaine use by affluent Cambodians has also increased in recent years, and the country now appears to play a minor role as a transit zone for cocaine en route to regional markets. Heroin primarily transits Cambodia for international markets, though some leaks into domestic consumption. Marijuana continues to be widely used across all levels of society.
The NACD reported that methamphetamine was the most commonly seized drug in Cambodia in 2014. Cambodian authorities seized 26 kilograms (kg) of methamphetamine tablets during the year, compared to 17.3 kg in 2013 and 10.6 kg in 2012. Seizures of heroin (two kg) and cocaine (eight kg), however, declined in 2014, from 38.3 kg and 12.8 kg seized in 2013, respectively. Cambodian authorities also seized three kg of MDMA and 26 kg of ephedrine in 2014. Data on 2014 marijuana seizures were not available at the time of this report, but 168.5 kg were seized in 2013, up from 2.4 kg in 2012.
Cambodian cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has steadily improved in recent years and continued over 2014. The impact of U.S.-provided law enforcement training, coupled with the improved efficiency of the Cambodia Anti-Drugs Department (CADD), has resulted in substantial increases in the number of drug-related investigations, arrests, and seizures. The NACD and CADD cooperated closely with DEA, regional counterparts such as Australia, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Cambodia does not have a mutual legal assistance treaty or extradition agreement with the United States, although Cambodia has acceded to relevant multilateral conventions that enable such cooperation.