A two-day trial in Thanh Hoa Province ended in high drama after a drug trafficker the court sentenced to death attempted to smash his head against a courtroom wall.
Nguyen Huu Bang, 35, and Nguyen Ngoc Hung, 45, were both sentenced to death for their major role in trafficking more than five kilograms of ecstasy pills from Laos.
Bang’s wife Le Thi At, 39, received a life sentence. Hung’s wife Phan Thi Vi, 40, and another member Van Thi Nga were each sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
Hung attempted to ram his head into the wall after the verdict was announced. Security forces at the trial stopped him in time, so he only suffered from dizziness and confusion.
Bang blamed his wife for the crime, saying he only served as an interpreter between her and Kong Thong and that investigators had forced him to plead guilty.
But his wife At admitted their involvement.
The indictment said Bang and At were living in Vientiane, Laos, when a local man named Kong Thong introduced them into the drug trade last October.
He asked the couple to find consumers in Vietnam.
Bang and At then went to Vietnam to recruit Hung and Vy, two Thanh Hoa locals.
In late December, Hung gave Bang a big order, so Bang called Kong Thong asking for the supply.
On December 29, Bang and the Lao supplier drover a truck across the border to deliver more than five kilograms of ecstasy pills to At and Nga, who brought them to Hung and Vi.
Hung and Nga met the customer at a hotel the next night and they agreed on the price of VND48,000 (more than US$2.27) a pill, as well as delivery and payment terms.
The next night, Kong Thong accompanied Nga to pick up the money from one hotel while At and Hung delivered the pills to another.
There, police rushed in and arrested them.
Bang, Vi and Nga were arrested soon afterward, while Kong Thong and the customer managed to escape.
At was pregnant during the time of her arrest and gave birth in jail.
She said she wanted to make money to take care of the baby.
She kept fainting, causing the judge panel to delay the trial several times.
Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws.
Those convicted of producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics face the death penalty.
Smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine is also punishable by death.