HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Court commenced a trial on Tuesday against an alleged drug trafficking ring believed to be the largest one ever busted in Việt Nam at the time it was taken down.
The mastermind, Văn Kính Dương, was born in 1980 and hails from Hà Nội. Dương is facing a total of five criminal charges – illicit drug production, drug trafficking, fraudulent acts, escaping from custody and falsification of documents and stamps – which means the maximum penalty against him could be the death sentence.
Nine of his accomplices – including his girlfriend, Vũ Hoàng Anh Ngọc (born in 1994), and his cousin, Nguyễn Đức Kỳ Nam – are also standing trial.
According to the indictment, Dương was sentenced to five years in prison for robbery in 2008.
Later the same year, he was found to be guilty of possessing illicit drugs and received another seven years in jail. However, as he was serving his sentence at a prison in Thanh Hoá Province, on the morning of November 4, 2010, Dương and four inmates escaped and fled to HCM City.
It is alleged Dương assumed a fake name – Trần Ngọc Huế – and rented an apartment at an upscale building that was said to be the preferred residence of many foreign diplomats.
In June, 2016, at a club, it is alleged Dương made acquaintance with a person who went by the name of Tom – the identity of whom remains unknown – and the two agreed to produce methamphetamines, with Tom providing recipes and being in charge of procuring materials.
Dương is accused of telling his underlings to rent a villa and purchase chemicals to manufacture the drugs. To avoid attention, Dương’s gang frequently moved their operations from HCM City to Nha Trang City (Khánh Hoà Province) or to the southern province of Đồng Nai and made sure that there would be no traces of the drug production activities left behind.
In 2017, thanks to tips from the public, HCM City’s police captured the gang. The investigation revealed that the gang made some 124kg of pure meth, and after giving Tom 84kg, the gang manufactured the remaining amount into 500,000 ecstasy tablets hidden inside coffee packets for the price of VNĐ50,000-70,000 a tablet.
As many as 18kg was successfully sold in the north eastern city of Hải Phòng while the group kept the rest.
The trial is expected to last until May 14. — VNS