Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI -- Despite positive steps in anti-drug efforts, drug smuggling has continued seemingly unabated, especially in border areas.
Anti-drug police and border guards in the Việt Nam-Laos border areas said in the past, they used to seize only a few hundred drug pills or grams of heroin in each case. But recently, the police said they had detected and seized large volumes of drugs brought through Laos and transported to third countries, including Việt Nam.
The Việt Nam-Laos border is becoming a hot spot and the main route to transport drugs.
From the beginning of the year, more than 20 cases of drug transportation, storage or trade on this border were handled by anti-drug forces, Hải Quan (Customs) newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The latest case of drug trafficking was detected last Thursday. Border guards in Tây Trang International Border Gate along with border guards in northern mountain province of Điện Biên arrested a 33-year-old while he was carrying 500g of heroin and 200 synthetic drug pills.
Last week, anti-drug police and customs officers in the northern province of Bắc Ninh also arrested a man carrying nine bricks of heroin weighing about 3.42kg.
At the police station, Khà A Chá, 43, the arrested man, said he received the drugs from an unknown man in northern Hòa Binh Province to transport to Quảng Ninh Province for sale.
He could get VNĐ5 million (US$220) for transporting each brick of heroin, he told the police.
On April 4, border guards in the central province of Hà Tĩnh working with Laos police arrested three Lao citizens transporting 97 bricks of heroin.
When questioned, they confessed that they worked in the drug trade for over ten years. They mainly bought heroin in the ‘golden triangle’ of Myanmar, Laos or Thailand and then transported it to Vientiane for sale.
Each time, they carried at least 97 bricks of heroin, sometimes up to 300 bricks, they said.
Border guards at Việt Nam-Laos route said dozens of bricks of heroin were transported from the border through northern mountain province of Sơn La’s Mộc Châu District each day.
Police said drugs bought in the ‘golden triangle’ would be stored in Laos’s Houaphanh Province and then transported to Việt Nam through towns in Mộc Châu District and Hòa Bình Province’s Mai Châu District.
According to the Customs Department in the central Hà Tĩnh Province, the drugs transported from Laos to Việt Nam are mainly heroin and synthetic drugs in large quantities.
The subjects involved in drug trafficking are mostly Lao and they associate with some local people living near the borders. They often carry weapons to fight police, according to the police.
The anti-drug forces’ efforts have increased and seizures have increased, but the supply available for import has also increased.
The problem for drug enforcement officials is not only stopping smuggling but working with the countries where the drugs come from.
No one knows for sure how many Vietnamese use illegal drugs or are involved in their sale, but indications are that drug use is increasing, border guards say. - VNS