Vietnam jails Australian citizen for drug offences

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Nguyen Ly Toan at a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7, 2015 for drug smuggling. Photo credit: VnExpress Nguyen Ly Toan at a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7, 2015 for drug smuggling. Photo credit: VnExpress

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A Vietnamese Australian man has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for smuggling precursor chemicals from Vietnam to Australia.
Nguyen Ly Toan, 39, was arrested by police in July 2013 after customs officers in Vietnam found a postal parcel destined to his wife in Australia contained the chemicals.
The ensuing investigation led to Toan, who arrived in Vietnam early the same month.
According to an indictment, Toan said he was hired by a man identified only as Tuan, whom he first met in Australia in June that year, to smuggle "illegal stuff" from Vietnam to Australia.
Toan denied knowing the contraband was drug.
He said Tuan gave him 3,000 Australian dollar up front and promised an addition payment of 7,000 Australian when he could receive the contraband.
Toan flew to Vietnam in July 2013 and, as arranged by Tuan, received the chemicals disguised as "pancake powder" and "seasoning powder" from a stranger.
Toan's wife in Australia asked her friends in Vietnam to buy some more food and seasonings, which Toan packed in the same parcel as the contraband.
He then asked her wife's friends to help him send the parcel to her by post. It was stopped by customs officers who found the banned substance.
The friends were not prosecuted as they were not aware of the contraband.

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