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Customs in the fight against drugs - Part 1: The constant presence of "hot spots"

13:24 | 13/05/2019

VCN - More than a ton of drugs were seized in Ho Chi Minh City and Nghe An (of which 600kg were found in Vinh City), hundreds of kilos of drugs and thousands of tablets were seized in the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Dien Bien and An Giang. This shows that contributions of the Customs sector in central and border areas have been invaluable in fighting the scourge of narcotics entering the country.

tin nhap 20190509145448 Detective dogs of customs sniff out drugs
tin nhap 20190509145448 Smuggling drugs and wild animal products takes place on a large scale
tin nhap 20190509145448 An Giang border is “hot" with drug crimes
tin nhap 20190509145448
Ha Tinh Customs coordinated to seize 60,000 synthetic drug tablets (March 4, 2019). Photo: Ha Tinh customs.

Drugs are destroying Central areas

Over the past few days, big drug busts have captured public attention.Drugs are destroying Central areas

There has never been a series of drug busts involving hundreds of kilograms of narcotics seized, especially in the Central region.

“In the period 2014-2017, drugs were mainly transported across the northern border, but from 2018 more have been found crossing the Vietnam-Laos border in the Central region,” an official from the Investigation Department (General Department of Customs) said.

According to authorities, after the Ministry of Public Security destroyed a drug hideout in Long Luong (Van Ho, Son La) in mid-2018, suspects sought to transfer activities to the Central region.

Vietnam and Laos share a long border and rugged mountains. This has turned the Vietnam-Laos border in the Central region into one of the key roads for the smuggling of drugs from the Golden Triangle area (rugged mountain area between the Thai-Lao-Myanmar border) into Vietnam then around the world. Therefore, the Vietnam-Laos border in the Central region has been the location of many large drug busts. The quantity of drugs seized is thousands of times larger than many previous busts. This is also one of the reasons for the Ministry of Public Security to launch a crackdown on drug crimes on the Vietnam-Laos border in the central region (starting from April 2019).

The recently eradicated cross-country drug cases have a common feature that the leading suspects are related to Chinese and Taiwanese residents.

Forces in charge of drug prevention and control of the Customs sector confirm that in addition to the Vietnam - Laos border area in the Central region, international and express mail routes, the airport gate area and international seaports are also a key location for illegal transportation of narcotics.

In this situation, the leaders of the General Department of Customs have directed related units in the sector to step up professional measures to take the initiative and actively fight and prevent such issues as: Issuing Directive 4550 / CT-TCHQ on August 2, 2018, to open anti-drug inspections in key areas presided over by the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department.

Leaders of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department, the Northern Region's Anti-Smuggling Control Team (Team 5), the Southern Anti-Smuggling Control Team (Team 6) under the Investigation Department anti-smuggling and specialized anti-drug forces of local customs departments, especially customs units in the Central region, regularly strengthen the direction and reconnaissance of the situation in the key localities on the Vietnam-Laos border line, and closely coordinate with relevant forces (Police, Border Guard, Coast Guard).

In addition, the Customs agency coordinated to promptly detect and hanlde a series of drug cases with seizures of up to hundreds of kilograms of narcotics. On April 19, the police in Ho Chi Minh City informed that the case of this unit presided over, coordinating with the related forces to destroy a large drug case, seizing over 1.1 tons of narcotics.

On April 15, the related forces of the Ministry of Public Security, Police of Ha Tinh Province, Ha Tinh Customs Department and Nghe An Provincial Police searched and arrested 4 suspects who were transporting about 580kg of drugs and 40 bricks of heroin hidden in speakers in Vinh City (Nghe An). On April 17, related forces continued to search, seizing 60kg of drugs and 60 bricks of heroin at the house of Vo Van Giap (Huong Son district, Ha Tinh).

On the Vietnam-Cambodia border on April 13, Team 6 (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation), An Giang Customs Department, C04 (Ministry of Public Security), PC04 (An Giang Police Department), Union 3 (Ministry Border guard commander) and An Giang Border Guard detected and seized more than 30kg of drugs and thousands of pills in An Giang province.

Earlier, in March, the Department of Police investigating drug-related crimes - C04 (Ministry of Public Security) chaired and coordinated with relevant units of the Ministry of Public Security and Police of Ho Chi Minh City; customs force; Border guards to seize 300kg of drugs. Expanding the investigation, the authorities of Vietnam promptly exchanged information so that relevant forces seized a further 276kg of drugs.

In January, Ha Tinh Customs Department, Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation in coordination with C04 (Ministry of Public Security), Border Guards, Coast Guard arrested 4 suspects transporting 120 bricks of heroin through Cau Treo border gate.

Affirming the role of Customs

The Law on Drug Prevention and Control in 2000 stipulates that the Customs sector together with the Police, Border Guards and Coast Guard is the core force in the fight against drug crime. The Government also established the National Committee for AIDS, Drug and Prostitution Prevention; the Prime Minister issued a "Regulation on coordination between police forces, Border Guards, Coast Guard and Customs in the fight against drug-related crimes in border and sea areas" in order to raise the quality and effectiveness of drug prevention and combat work.

As a member of the National Committee for AIDS, Drug and Prostitution Prevention and Control, the Customs sector always determines the work of preventing and combating crimes of trafficking across the border as one of the key tasks.

In particular, on August 2, 2018, the General Director of the General Department of Customs signed the issuance of Directive 4550 / CT-TCHQ on strengthening drug prevention and fight in the area of ​​customs operation. This is the first time that the Customs sector has issued a Directive on strengthening the fight against drugs. This shows the industry's efforts and determination.

In the Directive, the leaders of the General Department of Customs assign the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department to carry out domestic and foreign information collection to detect and establish projects to combat trafficking crimes. Local customs departments shall direct drug control and prevention teams; customs control teams and border-gate customs sub-departments perform basic surveys, grasp the situation, use professional measures to closely inspect export and import goods; luggage of people on exit, entry, temporary import, re-export, transit; Passenger goods, means of entry and exit, transit. After the Directive was issued, the units organized to thoroughly grasp, direct and organize the strict implementation of the contents of the Directive.

In fact, it has been confirmed that the effectiveness of the struggle with drug crimes of the Customs sector has continued to be significantly improved. In particular, effective coordination with the related forces to organize the destruction of transnational drug cases through arrest at border areas, border gates or expansion of specialized investigations in inland and abroad.

tin nhap 20190509145448 The volume of seized drugs is increasing

VCN- In the first quarter 2019, the scale and nature of drug crimes have increased, while thevolume ...

Efforts and outstanding results continue to affirm the role, responsibility and contribution of the Customs sector in the fight against drug crimes, especially transnational drug crimes.

Information from the relevant forces shows that the recently eradicated transnational drug lines in Vietnam originated from the Golden Triangle area, then transshipped to Thailand and Laos to enter Vietnam and continue to a third country.

As mentioned in the article, on March 23, 2019, thanks to information shared from Vietnam, the Philippine Drug Prevention Agency (PDEA) discovered 276kg of drugs transported in containers from Cat Lai port (HCMC) to international container port in Manila. PDEA leader Aaron Aquino informed: “At 2 am on March 22, the PDEA received information from an international partner in Vietnam that the Callao Bridge V145E from HCMC will be in Manila. The ship carries containers with large quantities of illegal drugs.”

Three days ago, the PDEA raided the neighborhood in Alabang, confiscating more than 163kg of methamphetamine worth $20.7 million. Three Chinese tenants and a Chinese-born Filipino translator were arrested.

PDEA said that in the two cases mentioned above, drugs all originated from the Golden Triangle and they were same cases captured by Vietnam and Thailand, so it could be the same owner.

By Nguyen Quoc/Bui Diep