Police in Lao Cai arrested a Lao woman and two Vietnamese nationals on Tuesday for smuggling about 14 kilograms of heroin into Vietnam; police say it was the largest single heroin seizure in the northwestern province's history.
Police stopped their van at around 8:30 p.m. on June 17 at a section of National Road 70 that connects Hanoi to Lao Cai in Bao Thang District's Ban Phiet Commune near the Chinese border.
Police found about 14 kilograms of heroin hidden in different parts of the vehicle, which bore a Lao license plate, VOV reported.
They arrested Veu Pia, 20 of Laos’ Bonkhamsay Province and two Vietnamese nationals, Lau A Cu, 30, and Vang Thi Soa, 26, both of whom belong to the H’Mong ethnic minority.
Police seized the van and five cell phones from the arrestees.
(L-R) Veu Pia of Laos’ Bonkhamsay Province and two Vietnamese nationals, Lau A Cu and Vang Thi Soa were arrested with 14 kilograms of heroin in Lao Cai Province on June 17, 2014. Photo credit: Lao Cai newspaper
The raid was part of a province-wide anti-drug project launched by Lao Cai police in December 2013.
Giang Ly Pao, deputy director of the provincial police department, said they had invested a great deal of effort in investigating this particular drug smuggling ring.
“The investigation was very difficult because the smugglers often change means of transportation are very cunning in avoiding police detection,” he said.
In 2011, Lao Cai police busted a major drug smuggling ring and seized more than four kilograms of heroin.
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 methamphetamine face the death penalty.
In related news, a Hanoi court last week sentenced a Thai national and three Vietnamese nationals to death for smuggling more than 25 kilograms of heroin and methamphetamine into Vietnam in 2012.
In another case, on June 16, the Supreme People’s Court began its review of a death sentence handed down by a Quang Ninh Province court in January to 30 people found guilty of smuggling nearly 1.5 tons of heroin.
The court of first instance sentenced 13 others to life imprisonment and 36 others to 2-20 years in jail.
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