Vietnam border guards shoot out tires to stop Lao drug traffickers

Thanh Nien News

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A police car joins a hunt for drug traffickers across Laos border in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam. Photo credit: VTCNews A police car joins a hunt for drug traffickers across Laos border in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam. Photo credit: VTCNews

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Border guards in the north-central province of Nghe An have seized 1.65 kilos of drugs from Laos after a hair-raising manhunt.
The guards issued a statement Friday saying that three smugglers -- all Nghe An natives living in Laos -- had attempted to bring 1.32 kilograms of heroin and 330 grams of marijuana into Vietnam, news website VnExpress reported. 
Police are still tracking down a fourth suspect.
The statement was issued the day after the smugglers admitted to ditching the drugs while fleeing into the jungle.
They were arrested on July 7.
Nghe An border guards said the four smugglers attempted to ram a checkpoint after police attempted to flag them down near the Nam Cam border gate in the afternoon of July 7.
The officials managed to dive away from the vehicle and fire shots that blew out one of the car's tires.
The vehicle continued to flee, stopping at a jungle entrance where the four disappeared on foot.
The guards first arrested Cha Denh Ha, 42, and spent eight more hours searching for Xenh Ha, 32 and Dong Nu Ha, 36.
Vietnam’s Penal Code demands that 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 in punishing drug crimes.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.
But that hasn't seemed to stop drug trafficking between Laos and Vietnam from becoming more rampant and violent of late.
Late last month, Nghe An border guards arrested two Lao nationals for allegedly moving 3.7 kilograms of heroin into Vietnam.
The two Lao suspects drew knives and attempted to kill the border guards after being accosted, only to be overpowered.
Police in the north-central Quang Tri Province, which borders Laos, cooperated with Lao authorities in intercepting two smugglers suspected of transporting 20,000 ecstasy tablets into Vietnam.
The suspects opened fire on the police while fleeing into the jungle along the border, leaving their van and drug shipment behind.
Last June, in one of Vietnam's largest drug trafficking cases, 29 drug smugglers were sentenced to death in Vietnam for trafficking more than 12 tons of heroin from Laos through Vietnam and then into China.
Scores of other dealers and smugglers involved in the border drug trade have been arrested and convicted every year.

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