13 sentenced to death in Vietnam in two heroin trafficking cases

By Minh Nga   November 30, 2018 | 06:54 pm PT
13 sentenced to death in Vietnam in two heroin trafficking cases
Defendants charged with illegal drug dealing and possession stand during a trial in a court in Vietnam's Ha Nam Province on Friday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency/via AFP
Two separate trials sentenced 13 Vietnamese drug dealers to death on Friday, making them among the toughest in years.

A court in the northern Ha Nam Province sentenced nine ring leaders to death for trading 18.5 kilograms (40 pounds) of heroin and and 563 grams of methamphetamine, local media reported.

Three others were given life in prison, and 10 were sentenced to between seven to 21 years in jail in connection with the drug ring.

The indictment said that between June 2016 and March 2017, the gang had been trading drugs between Son La Province at Laos border and Ha Nam and nearby provinces, media reports said.

"The investigation showed that 22 defendants had illegally traded drugs many times," Ha Nam People's Court, one and a half hour south of Hanoi, said on its website.

On the same day, a court in Cao Bang Province, six hours north of Ha Nam, sentenced four men to death and two others to 20 years in jail each for trading more than 13 kilograms of heroin.

The operation was busted in December last year.

Vietnam also some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamines face the death penalty. The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

While heroin has long been common among users in Vietnam, the use of synthetic drugs like meth or ecstasy is on the rise, especially among youth.

Seven people died after using drugs at an electronic music festival in September in Hanoi, raising alarms for drug control in the country.

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