High-tech drug trafficking a new challenge for police

July, 25/2022 - 09:31
Drug trafficking is getting more sophisticated as criminals have taken advantage of cyberspace and high-tech methods to create new ways to expand their criminal activities

Anti-drug police forces in Điện Biên Province tackled a transnational drug trafficking ring on June 25, arresting four people and seizing a considerable amount of drugs. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Drug trafficking is getting more sophisticated as criminals have taken full advantage of cyberspace and high-tech methods to create new techniques to expand their criminal activities, the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigation Police Department has said.

Major General Nguyễn Văn Viện, director of the department, said high-tech drug trafficking was an alarming issue as police have found new methods of transporting and trading drugs that are much more complicated than before.

Drug traffickers have taken advantage of online trading to develop a transnational drug crime network.

They use fake information when carrying out procedures to send and receive goods. They falsely declare the names, quantity and types of goods and take advantage of enterprises to hide drugs into import and export goods to bring drugs into Việt Nam or abroad for consumption.

When the goods arrive in Việt Nam, they hire people to pick up the goods or entrust a courier company to do the customs clearance and then deliver the goods to the designated address. In particular, they use this trick to send goods around before arriving in Việt Nam to distract authorities.

Drugs are hidden among food, beverage, frozen seafood or scrap containers and sent to other countries for consumption.

The Drug Crime Investigation Police Department has recently busted a drug trafficking ring. Trần Thị Mậu and Nguyễn Sỹ Đức, the two masterminds, ordered drugs from Laos and hired people to carry drugs through forests to the border area in central Nghệ An Province. They also hired people to receive the drugs at night to avoid police patrols.

The police arrested nine ring members and seized 64kg of synthetic drugs and 20 slabs of heroin.

In some cases, the masterminds of these trafficking rings are overseas Vietnamese residing in Europe, which makes arrests more challenging.

This May, the Drug and Criminal Prevention and Control Office in the north found lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) imported to Việt Nam via an air route.

A sheet of paper consisting of 500 small stamps impregnated with 150mcg of LSD was transported from the Netherlands to China and then to Việt Nam.

LSD is a drug that has a hallucinogenic effect. The ringleader ordered the stamps online, which were packaged by the seller in an envelope sent from the Netherlands.

Police officers inspect 20 slabs of heroin seized from a drug trafficking ring in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu. — VNA/VNS Photo

Drug traffickers also created websites and forums to trade drugs. Traffickers abroad were willing to spend money and found ways to connect with domestic sellers using websites and forums to conduct transnational narcotics trading.

Deputy Director of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department Nguyễn Văn Ổn said many modern technologies continue to be exploited to expand drug crimes, posing challenges for customs authorities and functional forces.

“The types of drugs, methods and tricks of criminals are much more sophisticated than previously,” he said.

Colonel Vũ Đức Tú, deputy political commissar of the Sơn La Province’s Border Guard Command, agreed, saying that ring leaders mainly used the Internet and social networks to keep in touch with members in Việt Nam to transport drugs from the Golden Triangle area to the central and northern provinces of Laos and Sơn La Province or a third country for consumption.

Colonel Phan Quang Huy, head of the Drug Crime Prevention and Control Department, said the drug trafficking on the sea was much more complex.

He said marine police in Malaysia and Cambodia had collected hundreds of kilogrammes of drugs drifting in the waters between the two countries.

It was possible that criminals attached GPS chips to their drugs before dropping them into the sea so that receivers could track and pick them up.

“Drug criminals have used large ships and high technology to expand their activities in sea border areas between Việt Nam and China, Indonesia and Malaysia. This new trick will require strict cooperation between countries,” he said.

Quàng Văn Choi is caught transporting 30,000 synthetic drugs from Laos to Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo

Solutions

The Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Defence have coordinated and directed four main forces – drug-related crime investigation police, customs, border guards, and the coast guard – to combat drug crimes.

At Hà Nội’s Nội Bài International Airport, one of the critical areas in the fight against transnational drug trafficking, the Hà Nội Customs force would continue performing the pre-screening of goods upon entering the warehouse.

The force will also use machines on shipments imported from Europe to Việt Nand as shipments exported to foreign countries such as Korea, Japan, and Australia to detect illegal import and export of narcotics.

To prevent drug crimes on the sea route, which has become complicated again after the COVID-19 pandemic, Colonel Vũ Trung Kiên, deputy commander of the Coast Guard, said the coast guard had strengthened forces and means to go to key areas to assess the situation and develop plans to fight crime.

On the border lines, especially in the northwest key route, drug crime prevention and control forces have cooperated with the provinces of Sơn La, Điện Biên and Lai Châu, hot spots of drug trafficking, to step up the crackdown on drug traffickers.

Figures from the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigation Police Department show that in the first six months of this year, the police tackled 13,417 drug-related cases, arrested 20,048 criminals and seized 466kg of heroin and more than 2.5 million pills of synthetic drugs, 137kg of marijuana and many related items.

Major General Nguyễn Văn Viện, director of the department, said to solve unclaimed packages containing drugs, the department was coordinating with local police, especially localities with international airports, to conduct a basic review and investigation of logistics businesses with delivery functions to promptly supplement regulations.

The functional forces will recommend that State management agencies tighten regulations and overcome loopholes, so Việt Nam is no longer a transit hub for traffickers, he said. — VNS

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