Drug deliveries deliver death sentence for man in southern Vietnam

By Nam An   August 17, 2020 | 07:27 am PT
Drug deliveries deliver death sentence for man in southern Vietnam
Truong Quoc Cuong at the Long An provincial court, August 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nam An.
A 42-year-old Vietnamese man was sentenced to death Monday for delivering many packages of drugs for a Cambodian woman known only as Roem.

The death sentence was awarded by the Long An People’s Court to Truong Quoc Cuong, a former driver hailing from the Mekong Delta province’s Vinh Hung Town after it found him guilty of drug trafficking.

According to the indictment, in mid-2018, Cuong made the acquaintance of Cambodian national hitherto identified as Roem, when he was hired to drive her for several hospital visits in Ho Chi Minh City. Roem later hired Cuong for many drug deliveries from Cambodia to HCMC via Hung Ha Commune in Long An.

On May 11, 2019, Cuong was informed by Roem that there was a package to deliver the day after, for which he would be paid VND120 million ($5,160). At 3 p.m. the following day, a man called Phin, also a Cambodian national, summoned Cuong via a phone call to collect the drugs.

Cuong drove to the border area and lowered the window of his car so that Phin and another young man could load boxes with drugs inside. Phin paid Cuong VND300 million ($12,900) for making the latest deliver and previous ones.

Cuong was stopped near the Tuyen Binh Border Guard Station in Vinh Hung District’s Tuyen Binh Commune. About 64 kg of ketamine, methamphetamine and heroin was found in his car, and he was arrested.

Cuong told the police that he was working for Roem delivering drugs ranging from two to 64 kilograms each trip. He had earned over VND4 billion ($172,000) from the illegal venture when he was arrested.

He used many different phones to avoid being tracked. Cuong also said he never met the buyers. He would leave the drugs on roadsides or only lower the car’s window for them to pick up the drugs, so he could not identify them.

Vietnam has been a transit hub for drugs trafficked from the Golden Triangle. From here, the drugs are taken to Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and even Europe, Australia and Latin America. On July 19, HCMC police for the first time busted an operation that trafficked drugs to South Korea.

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

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