Hanoi – A court in Hanoi sentenced three men to death for trafficking heroin, a criminal court official said Thursday. The court handed down death sentences for Nguyen Van Quy, 42, Du Van Nha, 38, and Tran Van Tu, 53. Two accomplices, Cao Xuan Trung, 42, and Dang Xuan Hai, 48, received life in prison and 20 years respectively, said Dao Vinh Tuong, a deputy judge at the Hanoi People’s Court.
The only woman in the ring, Nguyen Thi Loi, 48, was sentenced to 17 months in prison for hiding the traffickers.
The group was convicted Thursday of smuggling heroin from Laos into Vietnam starting from July 2006.The head of the ring, Nguyen Chien Thang, was arrested in May 2007, but committed suicide one month later while in detention.
“This is the second-biggest trial related to heroin trafficking this year,” said the court’s presiding judge, Ta Phuc Cuong.
According to the indictment, the ring was detected on in November 2006, when Nguyen Van Quy was arrested with 10.4 kilograms of heroin in his luggage while en route from Vientiane to Hanoi.
The anti-narcotics force of Hanoi city followed links from Quy to the other members of the ring, which was found to have trafficked and consumed 40 kilograms of heroin in addition to Quy’s load.
Trafficking or transporting 600 grams or more of heroin is punishable by death in Vietnam. Vietnam has this year sentenced at least 39 people to death, including 18 for drug crimes. This marks a slower rate than last year, when 71 people were sentenced to death.