Saigon drug haul up tenfold year-on-year: police

By Quoc Thang   October 4, 2019 | 11:56 pm PT
Saigon drug haul up tenfold year-on-year: police
Police check 300 kilograms of methamphetamine seized in Ho Chi Minh City in March 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang.
Saigon police have seized over 1.6 tons of drugs since the beginning of this year, more than 10 times the same period last year.

Over 1,200 drug-related cases have been busted this year, Phung Van Dang, deputy head of the Saigon anti-drug police department, said at a meeting Thursday.

Around 300 kilograms of heroin, about 1.3 tons of synthetic drugs and 20 kilograms of cannabis were seized, he said. The police also confiscated 16 guns, two grenades, 30 cars and cash worth about $245,000 from the traffickers.

The drugs mainly came from the Golden Triangle, an intersection of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, to Vietnamese localities near the border.

In one recent case late last month, Saigon police busted a drug trafficking ring from Laos to Saigon worth about VND1 billion ($43,000). Six people were arrested, with about seven kilograms of drugs, over 500 ecstasy pills, six guns, dozens of bullets and other weapons as seized evidence, said police Thursday.

Dang said most of the drugs seized in HCMC were to be sent to fake companies in the city and disguised as other goods and products to be exported to third destinations like the Philippines, Taiwan, or mainland China on ships.

Some of them would be sent from Europe and America to Saigon by air. Only a small amount of drugs was consumed by Vietnamese users, Dang said.

However, with just 10,000 of over 24,000 addicts in the southern metropolis managed by authorities, the city continued to be a major consumption market for drug rings, he said.

He noted that the criminals involved in producing, distributing and trafficking drugs were mainly of Taiwanese and Chinese descent who coopted Vietnamese people in their operations.

Drug trafficking and consumption have persisted and worsened in Vietnam over the last few years, despite the country having some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws, including death sentences for drug smuggling and trading.

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