3 Vietnamese-Australians charged with smuggling 58kgs of heroin

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One of the two wooden church altars that contained a total of 58 kg of heroin smuggled into Australia from Vietnam by three Vietnamese-Australians

Three Vietnamese-Australian men are set to stand trial in Australia for allegedly smuggling in 58 kilograms of heroin worth over US$54 million from Vietnam, the Courier-Mail newspaper reported last week.

The trial date for Lam Hoang Tran, 21, Duy Hoa Pham, 32, and Tam Minh Dang, 47, would be announced December 14, the Australian newspaper said.

The three was arrested November 9 when they were opening two church altars inside which the heroin was hidden at a shed in Queensland state.

They have since been denied bail and held in custody.

The newspaper quoted court documents as saying the Australian Federal Police busted the trio after customs officers discovered 78 packages each containing 750 grams of heroin hidden inside the wooden altars.

The altars were shipped in a container to Brisbane from Vietnam, the report said.

Federal agents seized the drugs and replaced them with a fake equivalent before letting them continue their journey to a house in the south of Brisbane.

The next day the furniture and the fake heroin were moved to the shed, and federal agents carried out the raid soon afterwards, catching the men with the bases of the altars smashed open and the packages of fake heroin on the floor.

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