24,000 ecstasy pills seized in weekend bust

By Phan Anh, Hoang Tao   July 22, 2019 | 04:23 pm GMT+7
24,000 ecstasy pills seized in weekend bust
Ecstasy hidden inside a set of toys is seized at the Moc Bai checkpoint, Tay Ninh Province, near Cambodia border, July 21, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Moc Bai Customs.

A Lao national was arrested in Vietnam on Sunday with 24,000 ecstasy pills, just one of several border drug busts this month.

The 39-year-old Lao man was caught at a border gate in the central province of Quang Binh.

Police said he was part of a sophisticated operation that they have kept tabs on since October last year. Its members are armed with weapons and ready to fight back, they said.

The Sunday arrest was just one of a series of border drug busts conducted in Vietnam this month. 

On July 17, Saigon residents Hang Quoc Khanh, 38, and Nguyen Hang Ni, 30, were caught at a border gate in the neighbor province Tay Ninh with eight kilos of ecstasy they smuggled from Cambodia and hid in toys. 

Police in the southern Dong Thap Province on July 3 arrested Pham Van Huy, 23, Duong Van Hoang, 37 and Nguyen Thanh Han, 21, as they were transporting more than 10 kilos of meth for an unidentified Cambodian man to Saigon.

They were to be paid VND5 million ($215) for the delivery.

Over 10 kilograms of meth are seized by the police of Dong Thap Province July 3, 2019. Photo courtesy of Dong Thap police.

Over 10 kilograms of meth are seized by the police of Dong Thap Province on July 3, 2019. Photo courtesy of Dong Thap police.

Vietnam has become a key trafficking hub for narcotics from the Golden Triangle, an intersection of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the world's second largest drug producing area after the Golden Crescent in South Asia.

The increased drug abuse and drug trafficking are happening despite the country having some of the toughest anti-drug laws.

Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or cocaine or more than 2.5 kg of meth 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.

Earlier this month, a Saigon court sentenced four people to death for trading six kilograms (13 pounds) of drugs in 2014.

 
 
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