Vietnam to charge 23 for drug trafficking, including two officials

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Ministry of Public Security police have asked the country's highest prosecutors' office to charge 23 people, including two former government officials, with trafficking over 333 kilograms of heroin, VnExpress reported Tuesday.

Among the suspects was Nong Van Duong, 50, former chief of Trung Khanh District's tax agency in the northern province of Cao Bang, and 25-year-old Nguyen Van Hieu, who used to work with the state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin, the news website said.

It quoted the ministry's drug crimes department as saying that they are hunting about ten other suspects who are still at large.

In the meantime, the apprehended suspects are facing charges of "illegally transporting and trading in drugs," police said, adding that they brought the drugs from the northern province of Son La into Hanoi.

The ringleader, Trang A Chu, 35, is also facing charges of "acting against people on public mission" for causing the death of an officer and injuring another during a high-speed chase with police on May 18 last year.

According to police, that day officers tried to stop Chu's car on a road in the northern province of Hoa Binh.

However, he sped up and crashed his vehicle into a police car, killing Senior Lieutenant Do Manh Linh, and injuring Sergeant-major Hoang Minh Thanh, the news website quoted police reports as saying.

After the crash, Chu locked his car, and attempted suicide by hitting his head with a flashlight and cutting his wrist with a shard of glass. But the attempt was foiled by police

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Police then confiscated over 16 kilograms of heroin and 400 tablets of synthetic drugs from the car.

Later they arrested more members of the ring as they expanded the investigation.

In Vietnam, those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin can be sentenced to death.

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