2 more arrested in crackdown on Vietnam's drug valley

By Phuong Son   August 23, 2018 | 10:34 am GMT+7

Two months after a major shootout in a remote commune that killed two drug lords, police officers have arrested two more alleged traffickers there.

Trinh Minh Tuan, 35, was caught Monday allegedly transporting 700 grams of heroin and 280 ecstasy pills during a police raid of Tan Lap Village in Long Luong Commune.

Long Luong is 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Laos border and a known drug haven in the northern Son La Province.

Trinh Minh Tuan (L) and Trang A Cua are held at a police station in the northern Son La Province for illegal transportation of heroin. Photo courtesy of Voice of Vietnam

Trinh Minh Tuan (L) and Trang A Cua are held at a police station in the northern Son La Province for illegal transportation of heroin. Photo courtesy of Voice of Vietnam

As the raid continued, officers held another drug dealer and Tuan’s neighbor, Trang A Cua. They searched his house and found 5,200 ecstasy pills, a pistol and VND100 million ($4,284) in cash.

The two potentially face the death penalty for transporting narcotics.

Last June Long Luong came into the national limelight when two drug kingpins, Nguyen Thanh Tuan, 34, and Nguyen Van Thuan, 35, were shot dead during a four-day action involving more than 300 police officers.

Son La, seven hours west of Hanoi, has been notorious as a drug hotspot for many years, with around 1,000 cases busted and hundreds of kilograms of narcotics seized every year.

Many of the 5,200 residents of Long Luong, most of them ethnic H’Mong, have family in Laos.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Long Luong is a hideout for more than 60 wanted criminals, 30 of them for drug-related crimes.

Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics around the Golden Triangle, an intersection of China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar and the world's second largest drug producing region.

It has 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 methamphetamine 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.

But though the laws have been strictly enforced with capital punishment handed down regularly, there is no sign that drug running has been deterred.

 
 
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