DIEN BIEN – Border guards in Vietnam’s northwestern Dien Bien province and a security unit of Laos’ Phongsaly province have raided several houses in a Lao hamlet, seizing heroin, weapons and assets worth over US$1.2 million.
Colonel Le Quang Dan, head of the anti-drug crime department under the provincial Border Guard, said the joint force raided the homes of three alleged drug traffickers – Tong Dia, Tong Dinh and Chu Mua Ly – in Pa Hoc hamlet, Muong May district early on May 1.
The joint force seized 34 cakes of heroin, 15.3kg of heroin powder, 64.5kg of additives used in heroin processing, five guns, 186 K56 rounds of ammunition, more than 1,000 rounds for sport guns, and 28kg of dynamite.
The force also confiscated automobiles, an unspecified amount of money in both US dollars and Vietnamese dong; as well as gold, and tools and machinery used to refine heroin. The total value of these items is estimated at over VND25 billion, equivalent to US$1.2 million.
Earlier on April 30, Ly Tung Nhia, 38, from Pa Hoc hamlet, a member of the ring, was caught by the joint force carrying 40 grams of heroin into Vietnam.
Based on Nhia’s testimony, the force formed a plan to conduct the above-mentioned raids.
According to initial investigations, the ring has trafficked about 10,000 cakes of heroin (a cake weighs about 350 grams) from Pa Hoc into Vietnam through the Tay Trang border gate over the past 10 years, Dan said.
Concerned agencies from Vietnam and Laos are expanding their investigation to trace down others, especially Vietnamese drug traffickers, involved in the case.
Pa Hoc, which borders Dien Bien, has become known for drug manufacturing and dealing in recent years. It is where drugs are transported in from the Golden Triangle and are processed and packaged before being trafficked into Vietnam, he said.
One of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas, the Golden Triangle is an area of around 950,000 km2 overlapping the mountains of four Southeast Asian countries: Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.