Police seize major drug hauls in northern provinces

By Hoang Long, Thanh Nien News

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Mai Quynh Tho at the police station with the 13 bricks of heroin seized from her home. Photo: Hoang Long Mai Quynh Tho at the police station with the 13 bricks of heroin seized from her home. Photo: Hoang Long


Nam Dinh police arrested a 44-year-old local woman accused of smuggling about four kilograms of drugs into the northern province from the north-western highlands.
Mai Quynh Tho was caught red-handed on October 24 with five bricks of heroin.
Police say she was on her way to Nam Dinh Town’s Hoa Vuong Residential Area to meet a buyer when they stopped her.
Police raided her house and seized another eight bricks of heroin she had buried in her garden--making it a total of 13 bricks (roughly four kilograms).
Preliminary investigation found Tho often purchased heroin from smugglers in Son La and Hoa Binh provinces to sell in Nam Dinh.
Tho has already served two jail terms for drug smuggling, police said.
In another smuggling case that broke on October 29, Quang Ninh police arrested two men with 20 bricks of heroin (more than 6 kilograms) and eight guns.
At around 1pm, police pulled over a Toyota Fortuner SUV in the tourism area around Ha Long Bay and arrested Nguyen Van Hai, 29.
A search of Hai's vehicle yielded the drugs, a pistol, nine bullets and VND15 million (US$706).

Guns seized from drug smugglers by Quang Ninh police on Oct. 29.
A subsequent raid of his home led to the recovery of seven more guns, 170 bullets and an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine.
On the same day, police arrested Hai’s accomplice, 49-year-old Hoang Vinh Phuc of Quang Ninh’s Mong Cai Town and seized an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, VND1.4 billion and 50,000 Chinese yuan.
Hai and Phuc are alleged to be members of a major gun and drug smuggling ring that stretches across the Chinese border.
Police are still investigating the case.
Despite the fact that Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws, major drug smuggling cases continue to make weekly headlines.
In September, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs estimated Vietnam is home to 204,377 drug users with an average year-on-year increase of 7,000 people.
Many localities, especially Ho Chi Minh City, have complained that they can no longer remand drug users to compulsory rehabilitation centers due to complicated changes to the laws.

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