Police in Vietnam have smashed a ring that smuggled 500 cakes of heroin, weighing a total of 171 kilograms and were worth nearly US$3 million, from Laos into Vietnam.
The Department of Police in Dien Bien Province confirmed on Wednesday they had broken up the illegal smuggling ring following a five-month effort.
Officers first discovered the unlawful organization in mid-August.
The ring members included Laotian nationals and some suspects of the Mong ethnic minority in Na U Commune, Dien Bien.
Their lairs were located deep inside local forests, which made it difficult for authorities to reach.
The criminals were also armed and aggressive.
On Monday, officers managed to gather information regarding the gang’s big scheme, which was to smuggle a large haul of drugs from Laos into Dien Bien, before transporting them to a third nation for distribution.
At around 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Vang A Kia, 44, and Mua Thi Do, 39, a married couple in Na U, were caught carrying six bags of drugs on two motorbikes in Dien Bien District.
Police units were able to apprehend the pair despite their fierce resistance.
About 500 cakes of heroin weighing 171 kilograms, whose value was approximately VND70 billion ($3 million), along with two motorbikes and two cellphones, were confiscated.
Under the Vietnamese Penal Code, those who smuggle heroin weighing from 0.1 to less than five kilograms are subject to two to seven years in prison.
If amount is between five and less than 30 kilograms, the jail time will be extended to seven to 15 years.
Lawbreakers will face 15 to 20 years behind bars for smuggling heroin of 30 to less than 100 kilograms.
A 20-year jail term, life sentence, or capital punishment shall apply if the haul weighs over 100 kilograms.