Hai Phong City police have busted what they say is a transnational drug trafficking ring, arresting one Vietnamese and four Lao men.
The detained Vietnamese suspect was identified as 64-year-old Nguyen Van Nha and four Lao men as Souphap Keobounmy and PhouPet Vangd, both aged 20, Sitthiphon Toukt, 19, and Namaumnard Somphavan, 22.
The bust happened after several months of staking out the drug ring, police said Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Lao men entered Vietnam in a car at the Cau Treo border gate in Ha Tinh Province which borders Laos. On the way, Souphap received a suitcase, containing 44 cakes of heroin (15 kg) and $2,000 in cash from an unidentified Vietnamese person.
The Laos men then rented a hotel in Hai An District, Hai Phong City and handed over the drugs to Nha. Police officers raided the hotel at this point and arrested the five men.
Souphap confessed to the police that he had transported drugs in large quantities three times and handed them over to Nha. Police are expanding their investigation into the drug ring.
Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for drugs from the Golden Triangle, an intersection of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and the world’s second largest drug producing area after the Golden Crescent in South Asia.
Though it has some of the world’s toughest drug laws, including death for smuggling and trading, drug busts continue to be frequent occurrence.
Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamines 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.