Ringleader Van Kinh Duong (L) at the trial in HCM City on May 7 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City opened on May 7 the first-instance trial on a drug trafficking and production ring, the biggest of its kind in Vietnam when being uncovered in 2017.

Ringleader Van Kinh Duong, born in 1980, was prosecuted for illegally producing and trafficking drugs, swindling to appropriate assets, escaping from prison, and counterfeiting seals and documents of agencies and organisations.

His fiancee Vu Hoang Anh Ngoc, his cousin Nguyen Duc Ky Nam and seven other accomplices were also brought to trial.

According to the indictment, Duong was sentenced to five years in prison for robbery by the court of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district in 2008. While serving the penalty, Duong was found to store drugs on October 11 the same year, so he was given another seven-year prison sentence.

While being imprisoned in Thanh Hoa province, he and four inmates managed to escape.

In HCM City, under the name of Tran Ngoc Hieu, Duong rented an apartment in a high-end residential area. In June 2016, he got acquainted with a person named Tom at a bar. After that, they discussed and agreed to produce methamphetamine to supply for smugglers.

Later, Duong ordered his men to rent a villa and buy chemicals to produce crystal meth. The gang changed their production location constantly to avoid being uncovered, from HCM City to Nha Trang city (Khanh Hoa province) and then Dong Nai province.

In 2017, police of HCM City arrested the whole gang following a tip-off. 

Investigation results showed that Duong and his accomplices extracted 124kg of drugs. About 84kg of the drugs was given to Tom and the rest was used to produce nearly 500,000 ecstasy tablets which weighed 120kg in total and were concealed in coffee bags.

Before they were arrested, the ring had sold 18kg of the drugs in Hai Phong city. The remaining was hidden at their living places and given to accomplices to deliver to buyers.

The trial is scheduled to last until May 14.-VNA