A Thai national is in police custody after she was caught carrying 1.73 kg of cocaine hidden in her luggage at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Airport customs officers found the cocaine hidden in a carton of incense packed in a suitcase owned by S.A., a Thai woman, on Sunday afternoon.
They then handed the woman over to the city’s anti-drug police for investigation on charges of illegally transporting drugs.
The foreign woman told police that she had brought the hidden cocaine through four countries without being detected before arriving in Vietnam.
The estimated value of the cocaine is about VND11 billion (US$517,000), police said. A large amount of cocaine was also discovered in the luggage of another Thai woman who arrived at the airport on July 30. The drugs, weighing 3.97 kg, were found when customs officers were checking two backpacks belonging to the foreign woman, Pantimoong Narisara, 25, who flew in from Qatar, a country in the Middle East. The drugs were valued at about VND25 billion ($1.18 million).
As in the case of S.A., the Thai woman also told investigators that she had passed through multiple airports in several countries with the cocaine without being detected before arriving in Vietnam. In June this year, the Hanoi People’s Court sentenced a Thai woman and three Vietnamese people to death for transnational transport of more than 56kg of heroin in 2011-2012.
Pornpirom Upapong, 32, and her three Vietnamese accessories, Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, 51, Le Xuan Phu, 30, and Phan Thi Lien, 45, received their sentences at a trial on June 12. Under the Vietnamese Penal Code, those who are indicted for producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics are given the death sentence. Capital punishment is also applied to those who are convicted of smuggling more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.