Vietnamese drug lords' henchmen promised World Cup time if they surrender

By Ba Do   July 4, 2018 | 05:42 pm PT
Vietnamese drug lords' henchmen promised World Cup time if they surrender
A police photo shows members of a drug cartel arrested in Son La Province during a raid in late June.
A police officer has offered to give them some time with families if they turn themselves in.

Police in Vietnam's northern province of Son La are calling for members of a major drug cartel busted last week to surrender to receive "merciful" treatment, including time with family around World Cup TV before being arrested.

They said that nearly 30 wanted criminals, many of whom were henchmen of the two drug lords Nguyen Thanh Tuan, 34, and Nguyen Van Thuan, 35 who were killed last week, are believed to have armed themselves and fled into the local forests.

Police have called for these criminals to turn themselves in and promised that those who voluntarily hand over their weapons would be allowed to come home to spend time with their families before having to be arrested.

Phung Tien Trien, Son La's deputy police chief, said that if the criminals show up in the next couple days and pledge to end all criminal activities, they will be treated with mercy. "They can come home and enjoy watching football," he said, referring to the ongoing World Cup which is being treated as the most important event in football-crazy Vietnam at the moment.

Son La Police have pressed charges against 10 other members of the drug operation, who allegedly served as its bodyguards for many years. These suspects turned themselves in shortly before the raid to take down the Tuan and Thuan, according to the police. They are facing charges of "illegal stockpiling and use of military weapons and technical means" and "resisting persons in the performance of their official duties."

Long Luong, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Laos border, was a drug haven with 134 registered drug addicts, 31 wanted for drug crimes, 72 others in rehabilitation camps, and 65 ex-convicts, according to Son La Police.

Tuan and Thuan, who both have multiple arrest warrants against them for drug crimes, including the trafficking of more than 891 kilograms (1,960 pounds) of heroin in 2012, are believed to have fled to Ta De Village in the commune five years ago.

The two allegedly recruited and armed other fugitives to serve as bodyguards, and turned the remote village into the headquarters of their trans-national drug trafficking rings.

Both Tuan and Thuan were shot dead during a four-day raid involving more than 300 police officers between June 26-29. Police also killed two of their men, seized 49 guns, 17 grenades and over 7,000 bullets from their hideouts.

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