Five arrested in central Vietnam with 23 kilos of heroin

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Police in Central Vietnam seized 23.1 kilograms of heroin and nearly US$400,000 on Wednesday. The arrest was the latest in a string of large busts along the Laotian border.

Two of the suspects, Vu Duc Manh, 48, and Nguyen Thi Nhung, 36, were caught on Tuesday afternoon at the train station in Vinh, the capital of Nghe An Province, with one kilogram of heroin.

Their statements led the police to three others: Nguyen Thi Thu, 32, Nguyen Thi Chau, 44, and Truong Thi Hue, 37, who were holding the rest of the drugs.

The gang said they had smuggled the heroin into Nghe An from Laos.

Police also seized 14 ounces of gold, worth around VND630 million (US$30,200) and roughly VND3 billion (US$143,850) and US$207,000 in cash.

Drug trafficking from Laos to Vietnam has been on the rise, lately.

In April of this year, police filed charges against 19 Vietnamese for allegedly trafficking more than 346 kilograms of heroin, 25 kilograms of meth, and 200,000 ecstasy tablets into Vietnam over the last five years.

On the night of July 18, a Vietnamese man was stopped at a cental Vietnam border crossing with nearly 7.3 kilograms of heroin and 12,000 ectasy tablets that he was smuggling from Laos.

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On July 23, a Laotain man was arrested on the border of Ha Tinh Province with more than one kilogram of meth and three grams of heroin.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth face the death penalty.

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