Cut off lines of transnational drug related crime

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Director General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can awarded individuals and untis of Hanoi Customs Department in the fight of anti-drugs. Photo: Ngọc Linh
Director General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can awards individuals and units of Hanoi Customs Department in the fight against drugs. Photo: Ngọc Linh

Seized ringleader of a transnational drug line

One of the typical cases is Special Project No.522Q co-chaired by the Hanoi Customs Department and the Drug-related Crime Investigation Police Department (C04, Ministry of Public Security) in coordination with the relevant local police agencies. The case was closed in May 2022.

Although more than half a year passed, every time the case is mentioned, the officers and soldiers of Customs and Police have not forgotten the thrilling details related to the case.

Through initial investigations, the forces discovered a line of illegal drug trafficking from Germany to Vietnam for consumption which was led by a group of Vietnamese people residing in European countries. The tricks of the subjects included taking advantage of goods transportation activities from logistics enterprises to transport drugs by air or post into Vietnam.

The ring leader of this line was an overseas Vietnamese named Nguyen Viet Hong Dung (born in 1996 in Quang Binh). Dung had settled in Germany for a long time. He married and had two children who were also living in Germany. In the beginning, when he went to Germany, Dung worked as a chef.

Subject and drugs which was camouflaged inside the shell of other products, seized in the Special Project 522Q.
Subject and drugs which were camouflaged inside the shell of other products were seized in Special Project 522Q.

However, after that, Dung began to participate in drug lines in Germany for transporting drugs. Despite his young age, Dung quickly grasped the market situation and the methods and tricks of drug trafficking and established his own line. To recruit “personnel” into the line, Dung enticed relatives from the same hometown in Quang Binh or selected on social networks, depending on each position and task.

In early May 2022, the Special Project Board discovered that Dung had flown back to Vietnam. The competent force said that the subject might return home to operate the drug line on this occasion, so he planned to supervise it closely. Notably, although he returned to Quang Binh with his wife and children, the subject rarely stayed at home and often stayed at the hotel and went to entertainment venues.

After consolidating documents and evidence and determining the time to “take off”, the Special Case Committee decided to implement the plan to solve the case. On May 13, 2022, when Dung returned from the hotel to his parent’s house in Quang Binh, the Special Project Board executed an urgent arrest warrant.

At the same time, competent forces simultaneously arrested related subjects in many localities across the country.

By the end of 2022, the Special Project Board had arrested 11 people participating in a drug trafficking organization from Germany to Vietnam for consumption and seized more than 50 kg of synthetic drugs of all kinds.

The above is just one of many typical projects on the anti-drug front that the Hanoi Customs Department participated in dismantling. By the end of 2022, Hanoi Customs Department chaired and coordinated with forces inside and outside the sector to successfully close 7 drug projects, seizing 372.7 kg of drugs of all kinds, which is the largest amount far, and 39 people have been arrested.

The battle is tough

Together with the Hanoi Customs Department, the year 2022 recorded many outstanding achievements in the fight against drug-related crimes by Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department and customs departments: HCM City, Dien Bien, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Hai Phong.

For example, the seizure of eight bricks of heroin disguised in a shipment of blowers chaired by Quang Tri Customs; Hai Phong Customs coordinated to dismantle line of transnational drug-related crime, seizing more than 30 kg of drugs of all kinds; Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department chaired and established DT922 project and agreed with Hanoi Customs Department, Drug-related Crime Investigation Police Department, and Hanoi City Police to seize 15 kg of drugs transported from Germany to Vietnam.

The above results showed that thanks to the close and drastic direction of leaders of the General Department of Vietnam Customs along with qualification, the capacity to fight drug-related crime is improved. The reason is that the Customs force has successfully dismantled many transnational drug lines, seized material evidence up to dozens, even hundreds of kilograms of drugs, and successfully closed many special projects and arrested the ringleaders, which was rarely seen in previous years.

On the other hand, it also showed that drug-related crimes in the customs management area are increasingly complicated. In particular, air routes, express delivery, and illegal transport of narcotics tend to increase in size, quantity and complexity.

At the Conference on exchanging professional experience in the anti-smuggling of customs field (held by the General Department of Vietnam Customs in Ho Chi Minh City on November 9 and 10 in 2022), the Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can requested the whole sector to continue to thoroughly implement the direction of the leaders of Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Finance in the fight against drugs, seizure of material evidence and application of professional measures to identify and arrest the subject for destroying the illegal trafficking of narcotics. It was determined as one of the key tasks assigned to the Customs by the Party and State and specified in relevant legal documents.

From the cases shared by competent forces, it is necessary to evaluate, summarize and draw lessons learned on how to guide customs officers in the process of performing duties, especially the coordination between Customs and other competent forces (Police, Border Defence) in the implementation of special cases, ensuring that information related to illegal trading and transportation of illegal drugs must be handled promptly, confidentially and closely from the beginning to the end of the case.

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