Court upholds five death penalties, three life terms in drug trafficking case

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Vietnam Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City Monday upheld five death sentences and three life sentences awarded to gang members for trafficking nearly 24 kilograms of heroin.

The judges' panel said the gang's crime was especially dangerous to the society and the previous court's decision was correct.

Vo Anh Tuan, Nguyen Xuan Dan, Vo Tien Thang, Luu Hoang Thao, and Hoang Phung Bac Son received death sentences while Truong Van Hoa, Tran Ngoc Dinh, and Lu Huu Loi will be jailed for life, all found guilty of "illegal drug trafficking."

Tuan was arrested after Nguyen Viet Dung, a drugs and weapon trafficker, was arrested in 2003 and told the police about their working together.

Dung said that in 2002, he had hired Tuan to sell around 10 kilograms of heroin for commissions of VND15 million (currently US$719).

After his arrest, Tuan had escaped to Laos, China and Russia with fake passports. In 2007, he returned to Vietnam and sold Thang, then already a drug trafficking ex con, one kilogram of heroin.

He only admitted to trading four kilograms of heroin in total and the prosecutors filed charges for that amount.

Dan said he knew Thang through Tuan and had sold him 20 kilograms of heroin in 2009.


Thang sold 3.3 kilograms from that batch to Thao, Hoa and Son, who mixed it with Sorbitol medicine to earn higher profits. The group also smuggled ecstasy tablets from Cambodia to Vietnam.

Dinh and Loi were charged with helping sell the heroin in HCMC.

Vietnamese laws allow for death sentences for possession and trading of 0.6 kilogram of heroin.

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