HCMC drug ring distributing meth in Vung Tau busted

May 15, 2019 | 05:43 pm PT
HCMC drug ring distributing meth in Vung Tau busted
Le Hai Duong (L) and Pham Van Liem have been arrested for running a drug ring distributing meth from Ho Chi Minh City to the nearby Vung Tau. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Binh
Police in the southern beach town Vung Tau have arrested six drug dealers running a methamphetamine ring from its neighbor Ho Chi Minh City.

The police said Tuesday that they had arrested Le Hai Duong, the leader of a meth ring based in the city as well as five other members of the gang.

According to the police, Duong, 38, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for drug dealing back in 2011.

When he was released in 2017, Duong moved to HCMC and set up the new ring to trade in meth.

He usually stayed off stage to run the ring and let Pham Van Liem, 42, a HCMC resident, engage in transactions with distributors in Vung Tau.

Liem was caught more than one month ago when distributing half a kilo (1.1 pounds) of meth in Vung Tau.

As Duong could not trust other members of the ring, he showed up to trade the drug himself and was arrested on April 10 while carrying 130 grams of meth in HCMC’s Tan Binh District.

Continuing their investigation, the police arrested Hang Thi Tuyet Lan, 29, owner of a hotel who received meth from Duong, and her three employees, Ngo Van Quang, Lam Chi Yen, and Pham Van Chung.

Vietnamese authorities deal with around 20,000 cases involving drugs every year and arrest around 30,000 people. The country has some 250,000 registered addicts, but actual figures could be much higher.

Heroin has long been the common drug in Vietnam, mostly among older men, but the use of synthetic drugs like meth is on the rise especially among a growing class of hard-partying youth.

Drug trafficking and abuse have been happening despite Vietnam having some of the toughest laws against them. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or cocaine or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine could 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.

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