Dien Bien (VNA) – Three Lao nationals were caught red-handed trafficking 10 bricks of heroin, 31,000 meth pills, 2 kg of opium and four guns near the shared border with Vietnam on June 11.

The three men were found trading drugs in a village in May district, the Lao province of Phongsaly, which shares the border with Vietnam’s northern mountainous province of Dien Bien during a joint operation between the two provinces’ armed forces. They are alleged to be drug wholesalers and have transported drugs from Laos to Vietnam.

The suspects and objects of evidence were handed over to the Lao side for further investigation.

Police in Dien Bien arrested three people trafficking 135 bricks of heroin and 500,000 meth pills in March. This was the large drugs trafficking case with the largest quantity of synthetic drug pills seized in Vietnam so far.

Earlier on January 3 this year, the provincial Drug Crime Investigation Office captured two persons transporting 489 bricks of heroin weighing 171kg and worth 3 million USD, the biggest-ever drug case detected in the country.

Drug-trafficking remains a major issue in Vietnam, especially at border areas, including Dien Bien, which is bordered by Pu’er city in China’s southern Yunnan province to the northwest and Laos’ Phongsaly province to the west.

Nearly 21,471 drug-trafficking cases were reported in 2017, up 14.5 percent from 2016, according to a report on collaboration among the Police General Department, the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam Border Guard High Command and Vietnam Coast Guard.

Some 32,950 suspects were detained, a 13.6 percent increase over 2016’s figure.

Statistics from the Vietnam Border Guard showed that the amount of synthetic drugs and marijuana seized in 2017 through the border of Vietnam and Laos respectively increased seven times and twice compared with 2016.-VNA