Lao siblings sentenced to death, life for smuggling heroin to Vietnam

Thanh Nien News

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A file photo shows Xong Ba Tu (R) and Xong Rua Co standing trial in April 2015. Photo credit: VnExpress A file photo shows Xong Ba Tu (R) and Xong Rua Co standing trial in April 2015. Photo credit: VnExpress


A court in the central province of Nghe An on Tuesday handed down a death penalty and a life sentence to two Lao siblings for smuggling 3.7 kilograms of heroin from Laos to Vietnam, VnExpress reported. 
Xong Ba Tu and Xong Rua Co, as the defendants are called in Vietnamese, were reportedly on their knees asking for leniency from the court. 
Tu, 27, was sentenced to death while Co, 30, got the life sentence. 
According to the indictment, the duo carried 10 brick-shaped packs containing 3.7 kilograms of heroin and entered Vietnam via Thanh Thuy Border Gate on June 27, 2014. The drugs would be delivered to dealers in Nghe An’s Thanh Chuong District. 
The following day, Tu planned to meet a buyer in a forest to deliver the drugs. Co stayed in a motel waiting for another man to come and pay for the drugs.
But when Tu was on the way to the forest, he was stopped by local border guards. He attempted to use a knife to attack the border guards, but was overpowered after a brief fight.
Co was also arrested at the motel.
The duo told the police that two Vietnamese men came to their house in Laos in early June 2014, asking them to bring 10 heroin bricks to Vietnam. The Vietnamese men promised to pay them US$52,000 in total.
The case was tried in April last year but Supreme People's Court in December ordered a fresh investigation to clarify some details. The retrial this week ended with the defendants being found guilty again and the same sentences. 
Vietnam’s Penal Code rules those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face the death penalty, making the country one of the toughest in the world regarding drug laws.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

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