Teen leader of drug trafficking ring detained in central Vietnam

By Ngoc Truong   July 2, 2019 | 07:50 pm PT
Teen leader of drug trafficking ring detained in central Vietnam
Nguyen Van Thanh, 19, has been arrested for leading a ring trafficking ecstasy pills from Laos to Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress.
Four members of a drug trafficking ring, including its teenage leader, were detained in Da Nang City on Tuesday.

Led by 19-year-old Nguyen Van Thanh, the ring collected ecstasy pills from Laos and brought them to Vietnam through a border gate in the central province of Quang Tri, 180 kilometers (114 miles) from Da Nang, police found last month.

They kept tabs on the ring and caught Nguyen Van Khanh, a 22-year-old member, carrying six pills of amphetamine at a street corner on June 25.

Early next morning, Khanh, Dung and An were caught in a motel with about 170 amphetamine pills.

Initial investigations found the gang travelled to Laos every seven or 10 days to order new drugs to supply users in Da Nang, the third largest city in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Police are investigating the ring's operations further.

Amphetamine pills delivered from Laos to Da Nang by the ring. Photo by VnExpress

Pills seized by Da Nang police were brought to the city from Laos by a gang led by a teenager.

Vietnam deals with around 20,000 cases involving drugs every year and arrests around 30,000 people. The country has some 250,000 registered addicts, but the actual figures are thought to be much higher.

An increasing number of them use synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, ecstasy and ketamine, law enforcement authorities say. In Da Nang, synthetic drug users account for 86 percent of drug addicts.

Despite having some of the world’s toughest drug laws, with death penalty for smuggling and trading, operations of drug rings remain rampant in Vietnam. The country has become a key trafficking hub for narcotics in and around the "Golden Triangle," a lawless wedge of land straddling China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar that dominates the Asian illegal drug markets.

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