Sixteen members of an alleged drug trafficking ring moving at least 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and thousands of assorted narcotic pills were arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.
Nguyen Viet Huynh, 35, one of the ring leaders from the northern city of Hai Phong, was among the last members caught this week after an exhaustive manhunt that stretched on for days.
News website VnExpress reported that the police began following the ring, one of the biggest ever busted in the city, after noticing a wave of criminal migration from Hai Phong to HCMC.
Huynh was one of the most prominent among them.
He traveled south after his wife died of illness, and lived like husband and wife with a 22-year-old woman from central Vietnam.
Police say the couple lived a life of luxury, driving BMW motorcycles and frequenting night clubs, where they met with suppliers and customers.
Tran Hung Kiet, 30, a HCMC hairdresser, was a customer who resold Huynh’s drug at local bars.
He also worked with Nguyen Quoc Khanh, 33, from Hanoi.
Through Huynh and Khanh, Kiet received a shipment from Hai Phong every couple days. Police seized one such shipment at his doorstep in late April after tailing the deliveryman from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The shipment consisted of a suitcase containing 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and anesthetic ketamine.
Khanh was later arrested on the street carrying nearly 1,000 ecstasy pills. A further 2,500 pills and nearly one kilogram of meth were found at his home, which was disguised as a pawnshop.
Police later caught up to another ring leader, Chau Minh Tuan, who had drugs in his possession.
Those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth face the death penalty in Vietnam, which has some of the world's toughest drug laws.
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