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34 face death penalty in 12-ton heroin case

34 face death penalty in 12-ton heroin case

Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 10:59 GMT+7

The prosecutors’ office in northern Quang Ninh Province has proposed that 34 of the 89 defendants—including 27 women—who are being tried for transporting and trading 32,000 bricks of heroin be given the death penalty.

>> 89 defendants tried for trafficking 32,000 bricks of heroin The proposal was made on Monday, 10 days after the provincial People’s Court began the trial for five transnational drug rings that transported and traded about 12 tons of heroin and hundreds of thousands of synthetic drug tablets. Besides being charged with illegally transporting and trading in drugs, many of the 89 defendants were also indicted for counterfeiting materials of agencies and organizations, storing weapons, illegal trading, failing to report crime, giving bribes, and bribery brokerage. Besides the proposed death sentences, the prosecutor in court also requested that the nine defendants be given life imprisonment, nine others be sentenced to 20 years in jail, one defendant receive 18-20 years in prison, and the remaining 32 defendants be given sentences from 36 months to 16 years. However, the prosecutor proposed that four defendants who have been charged with “illegal trading” or “not reporting crime” be given suspended sentences. The hearing is chaired by judge Nguyen Van Vuong and 41 lawyers are defending the accused.

According to the indictment, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, a 54-year-old woman in northern Bac Giang Province, had led a ring that trafficked drugs from Laos into Vietnam since late 2006 until April 2012, when she was arrested at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi.

From Ngoc’s testimonies, police later cracked down on four other transnational drug trafficking rings, seizing about 4,400 bricks of heroin, 20 cars, dozens of guns, and a lot of fake documents and materials.

According to investigators, these rings had transported and traded in about 32,000 bricks of heroin weighing about 12 tons, 120,000 synthetic drug tablets, 260,000 synthetic ecstasy tablets, and tens of kilograms of Methamphetamine. The police are hunting for 28 other defendants involved in the drug rings, the court said.

The hearing is expected to last until January 20, 2014.



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