Transnational drug crime complicated


Quang Tri Customs Department arrested 8 people on entry with nearly 6kg of drugs through the Lao Bao border gate in January 2023.
Quang Tri Customs Department arrested 8 people on entry with nearly 6kg of drugs through the Lao Bao border gate in January 2023.

Drugs from many directions

At the National Online Conference on Drug Prevention and Control organized by the Ministry of Public Security on March 10, 2023, Lieutenant General Nguyen Duy Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Public Security, said: Asia has become an opium production hub and is also the largest market for synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Notably, Southeast Asia, with a hotspot for a drug, is the “Golden Triangle” region, which produces an average of 680 tons of opium per year, 50 tons of heroin, 20 tons of meth, 1 billion methamphetamine tablets and more. In addition, 3,000 tons of precursors are used to produce drugs.

The common policy of countries worldwide is to considers drugs illegal and must focus on fighting. However, several countries have legalized narcotics or are studying or considering legalizing the cannabis plant. This is a very worrying trend, which may cause many difficulties and challenges in preventing and controlling drugs and crime in other countries, including Vietnam.

“In addition, cross-border drug trafficking lines will increase their activities to solve the “inventories” after the Covid-19 pandemic. Smugglers inbound or outbound of the country will work together to establish inter-provincial and transnational criminal lines and groups, fully take advantage of the achievements of the 4th Industrial Revolution, loopholes in border control, trade facilitation policies after the Covid-19 pandemic to strengthen illegal cross-border transportation of drugs into Vietnam for consumption, or transit through Vietnam to a third country via land, sea, or air,” said Deputy Minister Nguyen Duy Ngoc.

On the land road, drugs are mainly brought from Laos to Vietnam via border crossings and then transported inland for consumption or to a third country. Four key routes include Northwest, Northeast, North Central – Central Highlands, and Southwest. On the routes, the smugglers link together to form a large, transitional drug trafficking line with dangerous and sophisticated nature and tricks (self- equipped hot weapons, ready to fight against the competent forces when detected and arrested).

For air routes and post offices, smugglers take advantage of international delivery modes and air transportation to illegally transport drugs from abroad to Vietnam. In addition, the smugglers also abuse non-commercial gifts and gifts for drug trafficking by air from European countries to Vietnam and other countries through national and international delivery service providers.

The sea route has the potential risk of illegally trading and transporting drugs in large volumes from abroad to Vietnam, transit through Vietnam and from Vietnam to third countries. The key areas are Ho Chi Minh City seaports, Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Hai Phong city. In addition, especially recently, drug smuggling has emerged in the waters of central provinces such as Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Tri, and Binh Thuan.

Actively fighting drug smuggling

To prevent and control drugs effectively, the Ministry of Public Security proposed ministries, agencies and People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities to focus on developing solutions and performing key tasks, especially the fight against drug-related crimes.

Accordingly, assigned units have proactively grasped, analyzed, forecasted and assessed the situation of drug-related crimes, especially in border areas, border gates, at sea, and on important routes; absolutely “not to be passive or surprised in any situation”; improve the effectiveness of coordination and struggle among the anti-drug units from the central to local levels.

Further, the units have effectively implemented plans for anti- drugs in key areas and routes for drugs, deploying the “3-layer” model of drug prevention and control (across the border, at border areas, inland).

Moreover, the units have organized a synchronous and continuous struggle in key areas, arresting the whole smuggling line and leaders; prevent drug-related crimes from taking advantage of Vietnam as a hub of international drug production, storage and transit.

Additionally, the units have strengthened control of legal activities related to drugs; regularly inspected and supervised conditional service business establishments on security to detect, prevent and strictly handle illegal acts of buying, selling, storing and using drugs; and promptly detect and destroy areas of drug-containing plants.

The units have accelerated inspection and supervision to detect and strictly handle acts of transporting (carrying, consigning) goods, food, beverages of unknown origin and e-cigarettes from foreigners into Vietnam; grasped the situation, inspected, detected and strictly handled organizations and individuals that have acts of buying, selling, transporting, circulating-cigarettes and food without invoices, vouchers, especially cakes, jams, candies and soft drinks originating from abroad; actively detected, combatted and prevented drugs from being mixed into food, beverages, e-cigarettes, herbs.


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