Vietnam police catch drug gang red-handed

TN News

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested five people allegedly belonging to a drug trafficking gang, and seized nearly two kilograms of heroin and 2.3 kg of meth from them.

On Tuesday they caught Vu Duc Long, 46, later identified as the gang leader, and a woman red-handed, selling around 700 grams of meth to a customer, who was also taken in.

They then arrested two more gang members, and also seized more drugs and more than VND200 million (US$9,600) and $100,000 in cash from them.

Long, from the northern province of Nam Dinh and known as a major drug supplier in the north, started selling in the south last August.

He sold heroin at VND600,000 ($28) per gram and meth at VND1.1 million ($53).

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 meth face the death penalty.

But it does not appear to be a deterrent, with the police arresting nearly 30,000 people belonging to nearly 19,600 drug gangs nationwide this year, nearly 15 percent up from last, according to figures provided by officials at an international conference in Da Nang Wednesday.

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A total of 390 kg of heroin, 74 kg of opium, and 128 kg of meth were seized.

Officials also said Vietnam has around 170,000 addicts, a market that has fueled drug trafficking and smuggling from other countries.

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