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​Police shootout ends in death of two drug kingpins in northern Vietnam

Friday, June 29, 2018, 11:37 GMT+7
​Police shootout ends in death of two drug kingpins in northern Vietnam
Police arrest members of the drug ring in the northern Vietnamese province of Son Lan on June 28, 2018 in this photo supplied by officers.

Two drug kingpins were killed in an intense two-day standoff between their gang and Vietnamese police in the northern province of Son La on Thursday.

Nearly 200 officers under the Ministry of Public Security, in coordination with provincial units, raided the drug ring’s headquarters in Long Luong Commune, Van Ho District on Wednesday, leading to a gun battle which lasted until Thursday evening.

Their ‘fortresses’ included a row of houses equipped with security cameras and bunkers safeguarded by barbed wires.

Ring leaders Nguyen Van Thuan and Nguyen Thanh Tuan were killed in the firefight and three other members of the organization were apprehended.

Police units met heavy resistance from AK guns, hunting rifles, pistols, and grenades when they arrived at the scene. Explosives had also been planted around the houses to ward off intruders.

Specialized vehicles were eventually mobilized by police to demolish the houses and put an end to the standoff.

A total of four guns, 75 bullets, three grenades, and seven tear gas canisters were confiscated.

No officers were harmed during the ordeal, according to a police official.

A member of the drug ring is apprehended in Long Luong Commune, Son La Province. Photo: police
A member of the drug ring is apprehended in Long Luong Commune, Son La Province. Photo: police

Commune of drug crimes

Thuan and Tuan were previously wanted for running an illicit ring that smuggled narcotics from Laos into Son La, where the goods were distributed to a third country.

In 2015, their ring members were caught red-handed transporting 490 cakes of heroin inside gas canisters in Hanoi.

Thuan and Tuan were able to escape to Long Luong Commune, where they began rebuilding their business.

Exhibits confiscated by police officers. Photo: police
Exhibits confiscated by police officers. Photo: police

According to Colonel Pham Van Truc, chief of police in Van Ho District, there are more than 50 wanted criminals hiding in Long Luong Commune, all previous members of notorious drug rings from across Vietnam.

The drug dealers have recruited local residents for their operations and rely on their familiarity with the roads around the mountainous locality, Col. Truc elaborated.

They are considered dangerous and are known to use guns and grenades as deterrence to police intervention, he added.

Houses comprising the ring’s “fortress” in Long Luong Commune. Photo: police
Houses comprising the ring’s “fortresses” in Long Luong Commune. Photo: police
A specialized vehicle used to raid the drug lair. Photo: police
A specialized vehicle used to raid the drug lair. Photo: police

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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