Vietnam court begins trial of largest drug syndicate

Vietnam court begins trial of largest drug syndicate

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 10:59 am

Scale of justice

A court in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday opened a trial against one of Vietnam’s largest known drug syndicates for MDMA production.

The leader of the ring, Van Kinh Duong, 38, and nine accomplices are being tried for buying and selling drugs, fraud, counterfeiting and escaping from prison.

The accomplices include his girlfriend Vu Hoang Anh Ngoc, a 25-year-old former pop performer who was once a prominent fixture in Vietnamese music videos.

Duong, sentenced to six years in prison in 2008 for drug possession, however, escaped from prison in 2012.

He proceeded to establish a nationwide manufacturing ring for MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

When he was re-arrested in 2017, police seized 300 kilogrammes of MDMA worth an estimated 8.8 million dollars from his labs.

Local media heralded it as Vietnam’s largest-ever drug bust at the time, although the record was broken in April by a string of methamphetamine busts, with one haul yielding a ton of meth.

Under Vietnamese law, the production or sale of 300 grammes of MDMA warrants the death penalty.

The court is scheduled to make its verdict on May 14.

Duong and his eight accomplices will face the death sentence if found guilty. (dpa/NAN)

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