Police in the central province of Ha Tinh have detained five Vietnamese men for involvement in a ring accused of transporting VND6 billion ($252,000) worth of drugs from Laos to Vietnam.
Nguyen Quoc Cuong and Nguyen Van Tiep, 27, Dau The Anh, 25, Hoang Van Khuong, 32 and Phan Manh Hung, 28, are under criminal investigation for “illegal transportation of narcotic substances,” said Senior Colonel Nguyen Hong Phong, director of Ha Tinh Province’s Public Security, on Saturday.
According to investigators, Cuong was the mastermind of a conspiracy that not only transported drugs from Laos across the border to Vietnam, but also then delivered them to southern localities for consumption.
Nguyen Quoc Cuong, the mastermind of the drug smuggling ring, is held at a police station in Ha Tinh Province, February 18, 2023. Photo courtesy of the police
On Feb. 16, Anh and Tiep drove motorbikes to the border area with Laos to receive the drugs from an unidentified Laos citizen. The duo then transported the contraband to Vu Quang District, according to authorities.
At 7:30 p.m. the same day, when the two accused were driving on the Ho Chi Minh Road, police officers on patrol asked them to stop for a routine roadside check.
However, the duo sped up instead. Dozens of police officers chased the culprits for 30 minutes before detaining the duo.
At the scene, police seized a backpack containing 12 kg of ketamine and 5,600 tablets of synthetic drugs wrapped in plastic bags and dried tea bags.
Interrogations led to testimony from Anh and Tiep that led police to the three remaining suspects in Huong Son and Ky Anh Districts on Friday and Saturday. All three were trying to escape after exposure of the ring.
Vietnam has been identified by security agencies as 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 kilograms of meth face the death penalty.
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