Vietnam nabs 3 Laotian drug smugglers

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Thanks to tips from local residents, Vietnamese authorities arrested three Laotians for smuggling large quantities of illegal narcotics from Laos into Vietnam's northwestern province of Hoa Binh last weekend.

Lee Chia Neng, 34, Ly Chue Sor, 38, and Boun Miher Khamtoong, 23, were caught carrying 60 bricks of powdered heroin (weighing around 20 kilograms) and 12,000 synthetic drug tablets in a car with a Laotian license plate heading toward Tan Lac District in Hoa Binh on Sunday (August 5).

The drugs were hidden in the car's fuel tank and under the seats, police said.

The arrests were made by officers from Ministry of Public Security's narcotics police department and Hoa Binh's border police, who have been investigating activities of drug smuggling from Laos to Vietnam via the bordering province of Hoa Binh since early this year.

According to police, they had been working with local authorities in an effort to turn local residents into informants by sending anonymous letters to special mailboxes established in some areas.

After reading the letters, police were able to come up with "portraits" of people believed to be masterminds of the local drug smuggling scene, including the three aforementioned Laotians.

On June 19, police received tips from locals that the three men would be transporting drugs by car across the Tay Trang Border Gate.

The police witnessed the trio handing over 20 packs of heroin to a Vietnamese man named Ly A Chua.

They did not, however, ambush the smugglers at that time. They only arrested Chua, letting the Laotians cross back to Laos in the hopes that they would soon return with an even larger shipment of drugs.

On August 5, following another local tip, police officers along with drug-sniffing dogs stormed into the car as soon as the three Laotians entered Tan Lac District, arresting them and confiscating the heroin and synthetic drug tablets.

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Police said their investigation is ongoing.

According to the Vietnamese Penal Code, those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin are eligible for the death penalty.

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