Vietnamese police have arrested a Canadian man after discovering 50,000 synthetic drug tablets hidden in his suitcases at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.
>> Thai woman caught with 1.73 kg of cocaine at HCMC airport The man was caught hiding the huge amount of drug tablets in two double-bottomed suitcases when his was carrying out procedures to enter Vietnam on the afternoon of January 28. These tablets weighed 15.9 kg in total and are valued at more than VND20 billion, or around US$1 million.
Customs officers decided to open the suitcases for examination after noticing suspicious signs in them. The inspection was made with the support of the airport police and anti-drug police forces from Ho Chi Minh City and the Ministry of Public Security. The airport police have handed the man and the drugs over to the ministry’s police department for drug-related crime investigations for further investigation. Many similar seizures of drugs in large quantities have been made at the same airport recently.
On October 5, 2014, customs officers at the airport caught a Thai woman, S.A., carrying 1.73 kg of cocaine valued at VND11 billion (then $517,000), hidden in her luggage. The foreign woman told police that she had brought the hidden cocaine through four countries without being detected before arriving in Vietnam.
On August 23, 2014, airport customs detected 2.78 kg of cocaine hidden in the luggage of a Russian woman, Dapirka Maria, 28, who had arrived from Singapore. The value of the drugs was estimated at over VND20 billion, or about $1 million.
The woman said she had zipped through six countries with the cocaine before arriving Vietnam.
In related news, a Vietnam court on January 20, 2015 handed down death sentences on eight of the 35 members of a drug trafficking ring that was broken up in 2011 after illegally transporting and trading 541 bricks of heroin, or roughly 190kg. Among those receiving the capital penalty was the ring’s leader, Vu Ngoc Son, 37, hailing from the northern province of Bac Giang, the People’s Court of the northern province of Hoa Binh said after 13 days of trial.
Under Article 194 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment can be given to those who are convicted of illegally stockpiling, transporting, trading in or appropriating heroine or cocaine weighing one hundred grams or more.
The same penalties are also given to those who commit the crime in one of the following circumstances: opium resin, marijuana resin or coca plasma weighing five kilograms or more; marijuana leaves, flower, fruit or coca leaves weighing 75 kilograms or more; dried poppy fruit weighing 600 kilograms or more; fresh poppy fruit weighing 150 kilograms or more; other narcotic substances in solid form weighing 300 grams or more or in liquid form measuring 750 milliliters or more.