Vietnam sentences 6 to death for drug trafficking

By Hai Duyen   October 28, 2023 | 01:00 am PT
Vietnam sentences 6 to death for drug trafficking
Six people stand trial for drug trafficking in HCMC, Oct. 27, 2023. Photo by Hong Hao
A Ho Chi Minh City court sentenced six people to death on Friday for trafficking 5.6 kg of heroin.

The committee of judges said the convicted were involved with larger trafficking rings that distributed massive amounts of methamphetamine and ketamine, and thus deserved the harshest punishment.

The convicted are: Tran Nhat Thuan, his brother Tran Nhat Thu, Ngo Van Loc and his wife Nguyen Thi My Kha, Huynh Thanh Hai and Nguyen Thanh Phu.

Thuan, 47, said he met a person named Pham Trung Hieu, who is currently a fugitive from police, in 2019 and accepted Hieu’s offer to deliver drugs to his customers.

Thuan received a shipment of 24 kg of methamphetamine, nearly 8 kg of heroin and 10 kg of ketamine from Hieu’s associates in Tay Ninh Province, which borders HCMC, on Sept. 7, 2020, according to the indictment.

He hid the drugs in his house and made deliveries upon Hieu’s instructions.

On Sept. 10, 2020, Hieu ordered Thuan to deliver the remaining heroin, of nearly 5 kg, to Loc.

Thuan asked Thu to come along this time and made an appointment with Loc, 51, to hand off the shipment near a bus station in District 12.

The brothers drove a car to the location, but saw many people there, so they called Loc to instead meet at a gas station in Hoc Moc District. Investigators said police at the station then caught the group "red-handed" in the act of making the handoff.

A police search of Thuan’s house found nearly 4 kg of narcotics.

Further investigations revealed that Loc’s wife, Kha, also involved in drug trafficking with two other dealers: Phu and Hai.

Her deliveryman Duong Van Dong was caught carrying nearly one kg of heroin on Sept. 10, 2020. But Dong later passed away due to an illness and was not charged.

Police are investigating Hieu in a separate case. Investigators said they had not collected enough evidence to charge him in this one.

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

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