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Identifying drug-related crime on Vietnam-Laos border

10:38 | 15/03/2022

VCN - According to the Dien Bien Customs Department, criminals took advantage of the rugged mountainous terrain with many trails and opening roads as well as relationships with indigenous people and relatives of residents on both sides of the border to connect and entice people to participate in the trafficking and transportation of narcotics on the Vietnam - Laos border.

Identifying drug-related crime on Vietnam-Laos border
Sung A Sinh and drugs. Photo provided by Anti-drugs Enforcement Team – Dien Bien Customs Department.

The illegal trade and transport of narcotics on the Vietnam-Laos border, which is adjacent to Son La and Dien Bien provinces, has continued. The results of coordination in drug prevention and control by competent forces (Customs, Border Defence, and Police) showed that there was an increase in the number of cases, exhibits, and also the number of participants.

From mid-December 2021 to early March 2022, the Anti-Drug Enforcement Team (Dien Bien Customs Department) coordinated to handle five cases and arrest six people; seized 16 bricks of heroin (about 5.6kg); 24,000 tablets of synthetic drugs (about 2.3kg); 0.5kg of opium; four cell phones; and two sharp knives.

Typically on February 13, in the area of ​​National Highway 279 in Phieng Ban village, Na Tau commune, Dien Bien Phu city, Dien Bien province, the team worked with PC04, Dien Bien Police; Dien Bien Phu City Police to conduct a search and inspection of Sung A Sinh (born in 1997; permanently residing in Pa Lung village, Chung Trai commune, Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien province), and seized two bricks of heroin (approximately 0.7 kg) and 24,000 tablets of synthetic drug.

On February 14, in the area of ​​National Highway 12, in the territory of Sa Long 2 village, Sa Long commune, Muong Cha district, Dien Bien province, the team coordinated with Muong Cha district police to arrest Sung A Chua (born in 1996) and seized four bricks of heroin.

According to the leader of the Anti-Drug Enforcement Team, drug-related crimes were diverse and complex.

They took advantage of business trips, tourism, visiting relatives and openness in management and law in Laos to buy, sell and illegally transport narcotics. Then they transported drugs from abroad to Vietnam through the area.

The remaining group of suspects often take advantage of the natural conditions of border residents who have close relationships with indigenous people, long-standing relatives and familiar with the terrain, know many trails and shortcuts across the border, to conduct buying, selling and transporting narcotics for profit. Most of them were ethnic minorities who have little understanding of the law and were easily bribed, manipulated, and often violent.

“The subjects often operated in lines, closely organized and were always interested in strengthening the criminal organization. During the course of criminal activities, the subject was always alert and had experience in trading. They always looking for all sorts of tricks to deal with the competent forces," the leader of the Anti-Drug Enforcement Team said.

According to this leader, narcotics were often brought from Laos into Vietnam across the border of Dien Bien and Son La provinces, then transported inland for consumption or transported to other provinces adjacent to China to transport across the border. Key routes and areas were the border gate area and customs management area at the Tay Trang and Huoi Puoc border gates (Dien Bien); Long Sap, and Chieng Khuong (Son La).

The Customs force also found that criminals always used tricks to hide drugs, which was difficult to detect with the naked eye. Drugs that were hidden and mixed with other goods and transported.

In many cases, competent forces discovered a person hiding drugs in motorcycle frames, car trunks, reinforcing substructures of cars, even hidden inside wooden trunks.

With the strong development of information technology and wide mobile phone coverage, drug-related criminals mainly use mobile phones to communicate, transact and frequently change contact numbers.

When exchanging and transacting, subjects often use local languages, making it difficult to fight and handle the crimes. When discovered and arrested, the suspects often try to flee or confess to transport for others in order to reduce their sentences and find ways to notify their accomplices to flee.

In 2022, the Anti-Drug Enforcement Team has advised leaders of Dien Bien Customs Department to direct subordinate units to establish the list, monitor and capture information of the suspects showing suspicious signs and often taking advantage of the difficult terrain to participate in illegal trading and transport of narcotics.

At the same time, the unit actively coordinated with competent forces in the area to organize effective patrols, control and fight inside and outside the area of ​​customs operations areas, contributing to preventing crimes and drug trafficking across the border.

By Quang Hùng/Thanh Thuy