VCN - 119 kg of cocaine hidden in a container of fishmeal imported from Peru to Vietnam was seized by Tien Giang Provincial Police, the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit of Binh Duong Customs Department and the Southern Drug Enforcement Team (Team 6) of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department under General Department of Customs. Following the journey of this shipment, the Customs agency discovered uncanny coincidences with 119 kg of cocaine seized by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department on July 24, 2018.
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|Cocaine were found in the imported shipment of fishmeal in July 2018.|
The journey of 119 kg of cocaine hidden in the container of fishmeal
On May 6, at Warehouse Lot 2, My Tho Industrial Park, Provincial Road 864, Binh Tao Hamlet, Trung An Commune, My Tho City, Tien Giang Province, coordinated with Investigation Police Department on drug-related crimes (C04) under the Ministry of Public Security, Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit of Binh Duong Customs Department, Southern Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Team (Team 6) of the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department (General Department of Customs) manually inspected container number TCNU5869923 imported by an enterprise in Binh Duong and detected a large amount of drugs.
The container was in a shipment of 19 containers, imported by Uni-President Vietnam Co., Ltd, in Song Than II Industrial Park, Di An Town, Binh Duong Province. In the customs declaration, the company declared the goods as Peruvian Steam Dried Fishmeal - the raw material used to produce aquatic food. The whole shipment was transported to the company’s private warehouse at Warehouse Lot 2, My Tho Industrial Park, My Tho City, Tien Giang Province for preservation while waiting for the quality inspection results for customs clearance.
However, when discharging goods to the warehouse, the forces discovered four black bags containing 119 kg of cocaine.
|Cocaine hidden in four black bags in April, 2019.|
The Customs agency expanded the investigation and found that the shipment had a long travel schedule. In particular, the ship stopped at Kaohsiung port in Taiwan (China) for nearly a week before continuing the journey. 19 containers with over 500 tons of goods departed from Callao port, Peru on March 17, 2019. On April 19, the ship arrived Kaohsiung port - Taiwan (China) and stopped there until April 24, the ship continued its journey to Vietnam and arrived Cat Lai port, Ho Chi Minh City at the end of April 2019. This imported shipment was animal feed originating from animals which is subject to quarantine inspection according to the regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Therefore, after the company registered the customs declaration, the shipment was taken to its warehouse in Tien Giang Branch for preservation while waiting for the results of animal quarantine.
This is the second imported shipment by seaway containing cocaine, which was discovered and seized. Earlier, in July 2018, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department also discovered 119kg of cocaine in imported containers of scrap. These two shipments are similar in quantity, tricks and journey.
According to investigation by the Customs force, the container of fishmeal containing 119kg of cocaine was imported by Uni-President Vietnam Co., Ltd, in Binh Duong. This company has been licensed to operate in Binh Duong since 1999 and regularly imports fishmeal from 12 foreign partners over the years. Regarding this shipment, the company signed a sales contract with a company in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong company purchased goods from a company in Peru. After discovering the drugs, the company informed its holding company in Taiwan to talk with the partners. However, the partners said that they did not have any goods contained in four black travel bags as discovered in Vietnam.
Analysing the journey of the shipment, customs officials said that the shipment was delivered from a company in Peru as designated by a company in Hong Kong as its sales partner. Drug traffickers might take advantage of the journey to hide cocaine into goods. This case is being investigated.
For 119 kg of cocaine discovered by Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department in an imported container of scrap in July 2018, there are many similarities with this shipment. According to the customs declaration, the container containing scrap steel with a weight of 16,160kg was sent to a company in Phu My by Stamcorp International, PTE LTD 180 Cecil Street, 09-02 Bangkok Bank Building Singapore 069546. After inspecting the container, the forces also discovered four black bags containing 119kg of cocaine.
The journey of the container of scrap containing 119 kg of cocaine was also very complicated. It was transported around many countries to Vietnam. The cargo ship departed from Trinidad & Tobago, spent a long time at sea and visited a harbour in Panama. The container was then transported by road to another port in Panama. After leaving Panama, the container was shipped to the port of Shenzhen, China and then arrived at Cai Mep port, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and was seized.
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According to the customs force, taking advantage of the imports of raw materials to Vietnam for production, smugglers have used many tricks to hide smuggled and banned goods into containers. Two imported shipments of fishmeal and scrap hiding 238 kg of cocaine are typical cases. Currently, the Customs Department is implementing many solutions to control and prevent acts of trafficking drugs into Vietnam and transiting via Vietnam to a third country.
By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang