Arrest of heroin smuggler sparks investigation along Laos border

By Vu Ngoc Khanh, Thanh Nien News

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Police in northern Vietnam launched an investigation into the trafficking of narcotics from mountainous areas in Laos to Vietnamese cities after intercepting over a kilogram of heroin last week in Hai Phong.
Officers from Le Chan District in the northern port city arrested Nguyen Van Thuy on July 2 while the 41-year-old was carrying the drugs out of Son La Province.
The heroin was covered in a plastic bag and hidden in the front of his motorbike.
VnExpress reported that Thuy was riding his wife and their 8-month-old child, allegedly in an attempt to put off police’s suspicion.
A search of his home in nearby Hai Duong Province yielded more than eight grams of ecstasy pills, one gun (with more than 550 bullets) and nearly US$1,000 in Vietnamese Dong and US Dollar notes.
Le Chan Police were awarded VND10 million ($471) Monday for their investigation, which began when an officer noticed Thuy's regular visits to the city. He had been discussing business with several locals who seemed to have drug connections.
The police then identified Thuy as a part of a major ring responsible for moving heroin from provinces along the Lao border to sell in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Hai Duong.
Smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin carries the death penalty according to Vietnam’s Penal Code.
The country imposes the same punishment for smuggling more than 2.5 kilograms of meth, or producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics.

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