Vietnamese police bust MDMA ring on heels of airline arrests

Authorities in southern Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Metropolis are on a drug busting tear, following the invention by customs officers final month of MDMA, ketamine and cocaine hidden inside 156 toothpaste tubes within the baggage of Vietnam Airways crew members.

On Friday, police introduced they’d shut down a Vietnam-based MDMA ring that allegedly imported some 106 kilograms (233 lbs.) of the drug in pure powder kind from Vietnamese dwelling in France by way of worldwide postal providers since late 2021, in line with a report by the official HCMC Public Safety On-line Newspaper.

The ring, led by a person often known as Tri Whale (Tri “Ca Voi”), is accused of utilizing the powder to supply greater than 450,000 completed ecstasy capsules, weighing some 230 kilograms (506 kilos), for home sale. The ring offered the capsules in Ho Chi Minh and different localities for “tens of billions” of Vietnamese dong (10 billion dong = U.S.$426,000), the report stated.

On April 24, police arrested 21 folks, together with Tri Whale, for the unlawful manufacturing and commerce of MDMA following a raid on the ring’s lab in District 4 and searches of 16 residential properties. Throughout the raid, authorities confiscated 18,000 ecstasy capsules, 900 grams of ketamine, 120 sachets of an artificial drug cocktail often known as “completely happy water” – and 21 packets containing a colorless crystalline substance, in addition to lab gear used to supply the medicine.

The most recent bust comes days after police in Ho Chi Minh introduced the prosecution of 65 folks in an expanded investigation into the March 16 arrest of 4 flight attendants arriving on a world flight from Paris, who advised authorities that somebody in France paid them greater than 10 million dong, or about U.S.$425, to assist transport “some items” to Vietnam.

The flight attendants had been carrying 112 toothpaste tubes containing 8.4 kilograms (18.5 lbs.) of grey tablets and 42 toothpaste tubes containing 3 kilograms (6.7 lbs.) of white powder. They stated they had been unaware of the narcotics and didn’t know the identification of the one that requested them to move the tubes.

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No medicine had been discovered throughout searches of their properties, they usually had been launched attributable to lack of proof.

Authorities have found six different instances during which a Vietnamese resident of France paid Vietnamese folks learning or dwelling in France to deliver medicine hidden in toothpaste tubes and dietary complement containers into Vietnam via Hanoi’s airport.

Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.

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