The People’s Court of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh on January 3 began the preliminary hearing of 89 defendants who trafficked over 5,000 cakes of heroin (a cake is equivalent to 350 grammes) and thousands of methamphetamine pills.

They are also charged with other counts such as forging documents, hiding military weapons, illegally doing business, not denouncing criminals, bribing and mediating bribery.

The death penalty was proposed for 66 of the defendants.

According to the indictment issued by the provincial People’s Procuracy, the case includes four trafficking rings.

Sa Van Cau, who has escaped to Laos, led the first ring. Cau and his accomplices bought heroin, methamphetamine and synthetic drugs in Laos then delivered them to Vietnam and China.

The second ring, led by Nguyen Hung Dung and Song A Lau, also trafficked drugs from Laos to Vietnam and China.

Nguyen Thanh Tuan and his wife Vu Thi Thanh Huyen operated the third ring while Nguyen Thi Hoan and Nguyen Ngoc Doan led the fourth. They smuggled heroin from Vietnam to China, the indictment read.

The first hearing is scheduled to last until January 20.-VNA