Vietnamese police announced Monday they had arrested seven members of a transnational drug smuggling ring and seized 24 kilograms of heroin and more than two kilograms of methamphetamine.
Police started the operation last April. On October 1 and 2, they arrested six alleged smugglers following raids across the country.
In Hanoi, police arrested Pham Thi Lien, 43, as she was receiving 18 brick-shaped packs of heroin weighing six kilograms from a person known only as Pornpirom, a 30-year-old Thai national, at a motel in Hanoi's Soc Son District on October 1.
Pornpirom was also arrested.
Lien confessed that she was hired to deliver the drugs to Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, a 49-year-old woman residing in Ho Chi Minh City.
In Quang Ninh Province, police arrested Tran Minh Tri, 22, Bui Van Tu, 23, and Le Xuan Phu, 28, in possession of 59 heroin bricks weighing 18 kilograms when they were about to board a boat at a local port.
The men said they received the drugs from Lien and were about to bring the drugs to China.
On October 2 police arrested Trang, seizing 11 passports and 15 mobile phones from a hotel room she was using. Trang is the ringleader who hired people in need of money to transport drugs for the gang, police said.
Several days earlier another member of the ring, Nguyen Thi Lanh, 43, of HCMC was caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of methamphetamine after arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport from an African country.
The six suspects told police Trang hired them to transport drugs to China, Cambodia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Police said the gang also involved some Africans who used money to trick poor Vietnamese women, who had little knowledge about drug laws, to join their operations.