Nine men in northern Vietnam have been sentenced to death and several others to lengthy jail terms for their roles in a 23-member heavily armed drug syndicate that had sold nearly 1,500 bricks of heroin.
The People’s Court of Hoa Binh Province in northern Vietnam on Tuesday concluded its criminal proceedings against 23 men arrested in 2015 for their involvement in an extensive, armed drug ring.
The men were charged with a variety of crimes including the sale of 1,415 bricks of heroin, stockpiling military weapons, and failure to alert the authorities of crimes in their knowledge.
According to case files presented to the court, the group’s activities were brought to light in January 2015 when drug officers under the Ministry of Public Security, and local authorities in Hoa Binh apprehended Tran Duc Duy, 31, while he was transporting 94 bricks of heroin in Thu Phong Commune in Cao Phong District.
Duy was also in possession of a pistol and seven bullets.
Further investigation resulted in the apprehension of 22 other people connected to the drug syndicate, which had been transporting heroin from Laos into Vietnam and China for sale.
Between 2012 and 2015, the men successfully transported and sold as many as 1,415 bricks of heroin, raking in over VND13 billion (U$580,000) and a further $103,000 in Chinese currency.
After a 23-day court hearing that commenced on February 27 and concluded on Tuesday, nine of the men were sentenced to death for their direct involvement in selling the heroin.
Nine others were given life behind bars for their involvement, while the remaining five received sentences of between 18 months and 20 years for their failure to report the crimes.