Vietnam sentences Russian man to 18 years in jail for cocaine trafficking

By Binh Nguyen   February 22, 2017 | 05:32 pm GMT+7

Cocaine was hidden in linings of jackets, sleeping bags and suitcase.

A Russian man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of trafficking cocaine into Vietnam, a Ho Chi Minh City court said on Wednesday.

vietnam-sentences-russian-man-to-18-years-in-jail-for-cocaine-trafficking

Aleksandr Savin at the trial on Wednesday. Photo by VnExpress/Binh Nguyen

Aleksandr Savin, 26, was found with 13 linings impregnated with cocaine in his coat, sleeping bag and suitcase after he landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in November 2015, according to investigators.

Nearly 300 grams (0.6 pound) of cocaine have been extracted from the linings.

The 26-year-old man testified that he met a woman named Svetlana in Russia, who asked him to carry “something” for her in exchange for $1,000 and a free trip to South America.

Following the woman’s instruction, Savin received a backpack, which contained jackets and sleeping bags, from a man in Chile. Savin had been to several countries carrying the backpack before being arrested in Vietnam.

At the trial on Wednesday, the Russian man said he didn’t know drugs had been hidden in the backpack, an excuse rejected by the Vietnamese jury.

Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drugs laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face death penalty.

Production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other narcotics is also punishable by death.

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