HANOI: A massive haul of nearly 300 kilogrammes (kg) of methamphetamine pills was seized in central Vietnam on Sunday, police said, the latest major drug bust in a country where the use of synthetic narcotics is on the rise.
While Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world, it remains a popular transport hub and destination market for narcotics smuggled in from the notorious ‘Golden Triangle’ — a lawless border zone that straddles Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
Opium and heroin have long been the drugs of choice among older users, but lab-made powders and pills — like methamphetamine in particular — are gaining popularity among young Vietnamese.
The latest bust occurred in Ha Tinh province early Sunday around 1.00am, when police, border defence forces and custom authorities found the drugs inside a van with a Lao licence plate, according to a report.
Authorities found dozens of golden-coloured plastic bags containing 294 kg of methamphetamine, the report published on the Ha Tinh police website said.
A Laotian suspect was arrested during the bust, police said.
“Due to the darkness, dangerous terrain and dense fog, another male suspect … managed to flee into the woods to escape,” said the report.
State-run Vietnam Television called the bust the ‘second largest meth-trafficking case’ in recent years.
In October last year, police found 309 kilograms of methamphetamine after pulling over a speeding truck in central Quang Binh province. The haul was worth an estimated US$3 million.
Communist-run Vietnam has some of the harshest punishments for drug trafficking in the world, and anyone caught with more than 600g of heroin can be sentenced to death. — AFP