VCN - Last time, Customs forces have always had a good role in detecting and arresting a series of drug cases through airways in Ho Chi Minh City. The case of the secret number E318 is typical.
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|MDMA seized by HCMC Customs in the E318 case. Photo: Le Thu.|
A sudden drug as a gift from France
At 10 am on January 9, 2019, in Ward 4, Tan Binh District (Ho Chi Minh City), the Drug Control and Prevention Team (Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department) presided over and coordinated with the Customs Branch for express delivery (Customs Department). Office of Ho Chi Minh City, Team 6 (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation) has a key check on an imported parcel registered on 9 January, 2019. The parcel originated from France with a weight of nearly 7 kg. According to customs declaration the goods are gifts. Parcel is expressly processed by express mail representative of the goods owner.
Through inspection by machine and manual implementation, Customs forces detected 1 black plastic wrap, inside contained 5 blue plastic covers containing gray, brown (milk coffee), orange, peach color and pink MDMA synthetic drug tablets, the total weight is over 2.2 kg.
According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, the trick of disguising the drugs is very sophisticated when hidden in a disc player's gut. At the same time the shipment is sent in the form of personal gifts in the form of non-commercial, through a courier service. Through verification, the recipient's name is not real.
The above case is the latest in the implementation of the investigation case with secret number of E318 established by Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department on April 6, 2018. Since the establishment of the investigation case, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs has discovered a series of violations (including this 9 January case), seizing many kg of MDMA synthetic drugs.
Many tricks to hide contraband goods
At the beginning of 2018, through the work of understanding the situation and collecting information, in March 2018, the Drug Control and Prevention Team (Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department) advised the leadership of the Construction Department of the E318 Digital Secretariat on combating illegal transport of synthetic drugs such as MDMA from European countries to Ho Chi Minh City through international postal and courier services in the form of non-commercial personal gifts.
The smugglers in international drug supply have used shipping procedures to write the name of the recipient on the bill of lading at bogus addresses or real addresses but are apartment blocks or coffee shops... so the verification is very difficult or impossible. With this trick, the smugglers will shirk responsibility when discovered by authorities.
After nearly 3 months of setting up the case and conducting an investigation, on 25 and 26, June, 2018, the Drug Control and Prevention Team (Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department) presided over and coordinated with the Express Customs Department (Department Customs of Ho Chi Minh City, Team 6 (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation), Police Department of Investigation of Drug Crimes (Ministry of Public Security) simultaneously examined suspected packages and seized a total of 12.5 kg of “ghosts” sophisticated hidden MDMA synthetics: Thousands of narcotic tablets are attached to double-sided tape, spread out into a thin layer, and put into layers between carton walls; use duct tape to wrap the drug packages then stuff them inside speaker cabinets.
But the case continues!
Implementing Phase 2 of the investigation case name E318, on 27 August 2018, HCMC Customs presided over and coordinated with functional forces to seize more than 1.7 kg of MDMA synthetic drugs. The drugs were disguised in the package of a Bluetooth headset sent from Belgium with a birthday gift cover.
Also on August 27, 2018, Ho Chi Minh City Customs coordinated with functional forces to stop a questionable parcel also sent from Belgium. The parcel is declared as a toy. But the actual inside contained more than 1.6 kg of MDMA synthetic drugs stored between the walls of the carton used to store the goods.
Then, on August 28, 2018, Ho Chi Minh City Customs coordinated with the functional forces to search a parcel sent from the Netherlands. Goods declared as electric stoves. However, this special stove had 1.4 kg of hidden MDMA synthetic drugs.
Thus, up to now, the total amount of MDMA synthetic drugs seized by Ho Chi Minh City Customs in the Secret Case No. E318 has reached more than 19 kg.
From the results of the above case, it shows that the transportation of drugs through airways in Ho Chi Minh City is very complicated. Drugs are sent via courier service (air) from many European countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands to Vietnam by using various camouflage methods and tricks to declare a fictitious or ambiguous recipient's name. If there is no high level of alertness and perseverance to monitor and follow up all year, plus the organization of synchronous implementation of professional measures of the customs force, the effective coordination between the inside and outside functional forces, it will be very difficult to detect and destroy.
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In addition to the above case, the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City also took part in arresting many drug-related cases at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Including cases of domestic drug trafficking abroad and vice versa with a lot of sophisticated camouflage, stealth, even drugs mixed in shrimp paste; impregnating drug precursors in wet children's towels.
By Nguyen Quoc/ Huu Tuc