Trang A Chu, the kingpin a massive drug trafficking ring in northern Vietnam, stood a trial with his 25 members in Hoa Binh Province on May 20 / PHOTO COURTESY OF AN NINH THU DO ONLINE NEWSPAPER
The trial of 26 people charged with trafficking more than 590 kilograms of heroin and 1,400 synthetic drug tablets began in the northern province of Hoa Binh on Tuesday.
Four other members of a gang allegedly led by Trang A Chu are being hunted by police, news website VnExpress reported.
On May 18, 2011, according to the indictment, Chu purchased 17.6 kilograms of heroin and 400 synthetic drug tablets from Giang A Denh for more than VND2 billion (US$94,000).
Police say Denh was Chu's neighbor in the northern province of Son La’s Moc Chau Town.
While transporting the drugs to Hanoi by car, Chu was flagged down by traffic police in Hoa Binh’s Tan Lac District.
He pretended to follow the officer's orders by slowing down and engaging his turn signal, before suddenly speeding up in an attempt to flee.
Police positioned down the road managed to flatten his car’s wheel with spike-strips.
The man continued to drive on flat tires for some 300 meters before crashing into three police cars in an attempted suicide.
One officer died at the scene, another was injured, according to prosecutors.
Further investigation led police to arrest other members of Chu’s gang, including a tax official in nearby Cao Bang Province.
All have been charged with drug smuggling, acting against officers on duty, illegal possession of military weapons, and concealing criminal activity.
The trial is scheduled to end on May 30.
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 methamphetamine face the death penalty.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.
In January, a court in the northern province of Quang Ninh handed down death sentences to 30 out of 89 defendants in one of Vietnam's largest drug trafficking ever.
The defendants brought a total of over 1.47 tons of heroin, 35 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, and over 323,400 methamphetamine tablets from Laos to Vietnam and from Vietnam to China between 2006 and 2012.
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