Ha Tinh Police confirmed Monday they had arrested 11 suspects and seized 237 kg of different narcotics following a large-scale crackdown.
On September 8, border officials arrested Nguyen Thi Hong Ha with 98 kg of synthetic drugs hidden in five wooden Buddhist statues at Cau Tre international border gate. She told police she was hired by a Lao national to transport the drugs by car from Vientiane to HCMC, police news portals reported.
All statues had been equipped with tracking devices, police confirmed.
Expanding the investigation, anti-narcotics police in Ha Tinh detained six others in HCMC two days later, seizing 6.2 kg of heroin and 22.5 kg of synthetic drugs, along with VND260 million ($11,100) in cash.
The same day, border guards in Ha Tinh cooperated with Laos police to capture four additional culprits and seized 110 kg of methamphetamine hidden in six wooden Buddhist statues.
Ha Tinh, which borders Laos, has been a major drug trafficking hotspot for years.
Drug busts and convictions have been increasing in Vietnam though the country has very tough drug laws.
Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 gm of heroin or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine face the death penalty. The production or sale of 100 gm of heroin or 300 gm of any other illegal narcotics is similarly punishable.
This article was originally published in Vnexpress