A court in Vietnam sentenced 12 people to death and eight others to life imprisonment Friday November 30, in a drug trafficking case involving 70 kilograms of heroin. The People’s Court of Vietnam’s northwestern province of Quang Ninh handed down the sentences after a five-day trial, said Nguyen Xuan Thanh, chief of the provincial anti-narcotics police.
The defendants “bought heroin from northwestern provinces bordering on Laos, and then sold it in many provinces in Vietnam, as well as in China,” Thanh said. “The heroin trafficking situation in the province is still very complicated.”
The ring operated from 2003 until May of 2006, when it was broken up by police.
Besides the 12 sentenced to death and the eight to life in prison, the court sentenced eight more members of the ring to between 15 and 30 years, and one to 1.5 years. Thanh said 15 more members of the ring remained at large.
The case was unrelated to another major narcotics trial that ended Thursday with a Hanoi court sentencing 11 people to die for smuggling over 400 kilos of heroin.
The verdicts brought to 94 the number of death sentences handed down by Vietnamese courts this year, including 64 for drug crimes.
Trafficking 600 grams or more of heroin is punishable by death in Vietnam.