Police in the northern province of Quang Ninh confiscated 52 live pangolins that were found in a car on Wednesday.
They discovered the animals, also known as anteaters, in a routine check in Uong Bi Town, police said, adding that they weigh 151 kilograms in total.
The driver escaped. Police are investigating the case.
Pangolins are hunted for meat in many parts of Africa and for remedies in Chinese traditional medicine.
Trade in pangolins is forbidden and they are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
They are listed in Vietnam's Red Book as endangered.