Hanoi and HCM City Customs shared experiences in anti-drugs

VCN - Hanoi and HCM City Customs have similar management areas in terms of international airport, postal and express delivery services, thereby learning and exchanging experiences on drug prevention will improve efficiency in this work.
Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department Phan Minh Le shared at the conference. Photo: T.H
Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department Phan Minh Le shared at the conference. Photo: T.H

On June 20, the Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City) and Hanoi Customs Departments jointly organized a conference to share experiences in drug trafficking prevention and control. The aim of the conference was to enhance the effectiveness of drug interdiction efforts, particularly through air routes between the two largest international airports in the country.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Director of HCM City Customs Department Phan Minh Le acknowledged the shared responsibilities of the two departments, both of which oversee major international airports and international express mail services. He emphasized that exchanging experiences in drug prevention would significantly improve the effectiveness of each unit's work.

Deputy Director Phan Minh Le highlighted HCM City Customs Department's successful drug interdiction operations in recent years, resulting in the seizure of significant quantities of illicit drugs transported through air routes.

Similarly, Hanoi Customs Department has also demonstrated remarkable achievements in drug trafficking prevention, dismantling numerous drug rings and seizing substantial amounts of narcotics.

Deputy Director Le emphasized the importance of knowledge sharing between the two departments, stating that the expertise and experiences gained from the collaboration of HCM City and Hanoi Customs would prove invaluable in effectively combating drug trafficking.

Deputy Director of Hanoi Customs Department Nguyen Truong Giang expressed his appreciation for the initiative to organize this joint experience-sharing conference. He acknowledged the growing complexity of drug-related crimes and the increasingly sophisticated concealment methods employed by traffickers. He further highlighted the emergence of new and highly dangerous drugs, as warned by the Ministry of Public Security's Drug Investigation Police Department (C04), posing significant challenges to Customs officers in combating drug trafficking at border gates.

Hanoi and HCM City Customs shared experiences in anti-drugs
HCM City Customs Department and Hanoi Customs Department co-organized the conference. Photo: T.H

During the conference, Mr. Nguyen Truong Giang shared that at the initial stages of investigating and implementing drug-related cases, the units faced significant difficulties and were unsure of their ability to succeed. However, with practical experience, shared expertise, and coordination with various agencies within and outside the industry, particularly the Drug Investigation Police Department (C04), the Hanoi Customs Department has successfully dismantled numerous major drug rings and apprehended the involved individuals.

From 2021 to 2023, the Hanoi Customs Department initiated 24 drug-related projects, apprehended 115 cases, coordinated the arrest of 93 individuals, and seized over 1.3 tons of illicit drugs. In the first half of 2024, the department initiated 6 projects, apprehended 42 cases, coordinated the arrest of 18 individuals, and seized over 530 kg of illicit drugs.

During the conference, customs officers from the Hanoi and HCM City Customs Departments shared insights into the sophisticated drug concealment methods employed by traffickers, as well as valuable experiences in gathering information, detecting, and apprehending drug trafficking cases.

According to the HCM CITY Customs Department, there are currently over 50 airlines operating at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. On average, the customs agency handles procedures for approximately 70,000 flights, 10 million inbound and outbound passengers, and 120,000 tons of cargo annually. Many individuals have taken advantage of air routes and express mail services to engage in illicit drug trafficking. In the first half of 2024, the department detected and intercepted 12 cases of illegal drug trafficking and coordinated the arrest of several individuals involved.

According to the leader of the Anti-Drug Enforcement Team - Hanoi Customs Department, the methods used to conceal drugs are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. In the past, traffickers would hide drugs in candy wrappers, electronic components, and other equipment. However, more recently, they have changed their tactics, concealing drugs in metal boxes, plastic containers, canned beverages, wooden statues, and gypsum boards.

The two departments have been effectively utilizing controlled delivery operations to apprehend drug traffickers. According to the leaders of the departments, controlled deliveries require close and effective coordination between customs agencies and law enforcement, as well as collaboration between the various functional departments within each unit and the General Department of Vietnam Customs' anti-drug enforcement units. Information is exchanged regularly, regardless of time, with the sole purpose of successfully dismantling cases and apprehending the ringleaders of drug trafficking networks.

Following the conference, the two departments have assigned liaison officers to coordinate, regularly exchange experiences and operational measures in the fight against drug trafficking, and issue warnings about new methods, tactics, and new types of drugs discovered and seized by each unit to serve as references for effective inspection and control efforts.

The two departments are committed to strengthening coordination, providing and exchanging information bilaterally, promptly responding to suspicious shipments, and providing feedback on case outcomes. In the long term, the two departments will consider signing a cooperation agreement on drug prevention and control to achieve the best possible results.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy

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