Wednesday , June 7 2023

65 arrested in airline attendant drug trafficking case

A total of 65 people were arrested in a drug trafficking case involving four Vietnam Airlines attendants after a month-long investigation.

HCMC police on Wednesday said authorities discovered an additional six drug batches that had already been shipped to Vietnam in part of the same Paris to HCMC drug trafficking route involved in the case of the four flight attendants caught transporting over 11 kg of drugs in March.

Authorities arrested the 65 for multiple crimes, not 50 as it had been revealed earlier. They are being investigated for drug trafficking and concealing crimes. Twelve people were fined. Around 50 kg of drugs have been seized in total, along with guns and other evidence.

Police discovered the group not only utilized airline attendants to deliver drugs to Vietnam, but also looked for Vietnamese studying and living in France and used international shipping services to bring the drugs into the country.

Once the drugs arrived at Vietnamese airports, the criminals would use domestic delivery services to transport them to a person in Dong Nai Province that borders HCMC, who would divide them up and transport them to multiple localities for distribution.

“Investigators had many difficulties finding suspects, as information about the group is limited. Most do not directly transport and receive drugs, but do so through delivery service apps. However, the police have cooperated with multiple units to clarify every lead, no matter how small,” a source close to the investigation said.

On March 16, a security inspection at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC found hundreds of toothpaste tubes containing 11.4 kg of drugs, including ecstasy, ketamine, and cocaine, hidden in the carry-on luggage of four female attendants of Vietnam Airlines.

The attendants were promptly arrested after their shift aboard flight VN10 from France to Vietnam. They told the police they had agreed to transport 60 kg of toothpaste tubes at the request of a person in France made via another Vietnam Airlines employee.

On March 22, they were released on bail after investigators confirmed that the attendants did not know that about half of the 327 toothpaste tubes contained drugs.

Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics despite having some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kg of meth face the death penalty.

The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

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