|Văn Kính Dương, 40, was sentenced to death on Monday at HCM City Court on charges of illegal drug production. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Chung
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Court on Monday sentenced to death the 40-year-old head of the country’s largest drug trafficking and production ring and his four accomplices.
Văn Kính Dương, the mastermind behind the ring, which police discovered in 2017, received a death sentence for illegal drug production. The court also sentenced him to life imprisonment for illegal drug trafficking; eight years in prison for fraudulent property appropriation; three years for escaping from detention; and one year for forging seals and documents of agencies or organisations.
Nguyễn Đức Kỳ Nam, the leader of drug production, and Phạm Bảo Quân, Lê Văn Mang, and Lê Hương Giang were sentenced to death for their role in helping Dương in “illegal production of drugs”, according to the court.
Nam was fined VNĐ400 million (US$13,000), and Quân, Mang and Giang VNĐ100 million each on the charges.
Nguyễn Bá Thành, Nguyễn Đắc Huy, Nguyễn Thu Huyền, Phạm Thị Thu Huyền were sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal production of drugs, in addition to a fine of VNĐ50 million each.
Vũ Hoàng Anh Ngọc, 26, (also known as Ngọc Miu, who is Dương’s girlfriend) was sentenced to 16 years in prison for “illegally storing drugs”, with an additional penalty of VNĐ50 million.
According to the court, the defendants needed to be strictly punished because they produced a large volume of illegal drugs, which pose a danger to society.
In 2010, while imprisoned at Thanh Lâm Prison in Thanh Hóa Province for asset misappropriation and storage of drugs, ring leader Văn Kính Dương, who is from Hà Nội, escaped from prison.
After his escape, he used a fake identification card under the name of Trần Ngọc Hiếu to withdraw cash from banks and rent a house in HCM City, which was used as a location to illegally distribute drugs.
Dương claimed in 2016 he teamed up with a person named Tom, whom he met in Cambodia, to manufacture drugs to supply to smugglers. He said Tom taught him how to make narcotics from scratch, and provided the substances to make them.
In the beginning, Dương was only in charge of finding locations and hiring workers to establish drug-producing facilities. Later, he created his own drug ring with his cousin Nguyễn Đức Kỳ Nam, joining him as a manager for one facility in Đồng Nai Province.
As his business boomed and other drug rings stepped up their game, Dương decided to expand his illegal business. New facilities in the central region and HCM City were established for the illegal activities.
Dương lived with his girlfriend Vũ Hoàng Anh Ngọc who helped him to “illegally store drugs”, until the ring was discovered in April 2017.
At that time, Dương and his ring had already been on the police’s radar for more than a year. In a raid that busted the gang, police seized more than 500,000 ecstasy pills and124 kilograms of powdered drugs.
Investigations revealed that the ecstasy powder was first made in Nha Trang before being delivered to Đồng Nai and HCM City to be molded into pills and stored in coffee packages.
Each package contained 500 to 1,000 pills. Each pill could fetch VNĐ50,000 to VNĐ200,000, depending on the location and the buyers. — VNS