Drug runners shift transportation tactics

In the first nine months of the year, HCM City customs uncovered 14 cases of drug smuggling with a total of 28kg of methamphetamines, marijuana, and types of cocaine (Photo: baohaiquan.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – More
and more drug traffickers have turned to aviation to transport drugs in
response to tighter security measures of local customs and police, officials said.

Pham Quoc Hung, Deputy Director of HCM
City’s Customs Department, told the Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper that
transporting drugs as airfreight packages and by express delivery has increased
from the beginning of the year as smugglers seek to circumvent customs
inspections.

In the first nine months of the year,
HCM City customs uncovered 14 cases of drug smuggling with a total of 28kg of
methamphetamines, marijuana, and types of cocaine.

Customs officers at Tan Son Nhat
International Airport on September 19 detected three packages sent from the US
to northern Hai Phong City, which raised suspicions of contraband content when
screened.

They checked and found that the three
packages contained 7.3kg of marijuana flowers packed carefully in vacuum nylon
bags and hidden in a used box of raisins. They also discovered many
packages of drugs hidden in clothes and personal belongings.

Hung said smugglers also put drugs into
packages which used to contain products, such as instant coffee, sesame or milk
powder, dried jackfruit and even cosmetics.

According to Huynh Nam, head of the
city’s drug control team, traffickers always change the way they hide heroin,
for example by shifting to express delivery services.

Nam said not all customs officials have
the required experience and capability to find and prevent drug trafficking.

Customs officers have also heightened
their vigilance of export goods.

Recently, customs officers checked a
package of gifts including some clothes and shoes sent by a person from
southern Binh Duong province to Australia and found suspicious signs on the
side of the carton. Cutting all four sides of the carton, the customs
officer discovered four packs of heroin, weighing over 900grams flattened into
the sides.

Nguyen Van Anh, deputy director of the
Express Delivery Customs Sub-Department, said that every day the department
receives more than 3,000 gift packages, 2,600 of which are import goods.

Anh said that customs officials constantly
update themselves on new methods traffickers use to conceal and smuggle drugs.

The HCM City Customs Department warned
that after a lull of two years, drug traffickers have resumed efforts to seduce
Vietnamese women into serving as mules to transport drugs. The head of the drug
control team of HCM City Customs, Huynh Nam, said in August that a female
teacher from Binh Thuan province was arrested for transporting drugs.

The customs officers detained the woman
immediately after she arrived on a flight from Brazil to HCM
City. According to her initial claim to customs, she was acquainted with a
Nigerian man through a social network. In late July, the Nigerian man sent
her some money to buy tickets to visit Brazil.

After that he asked her to bring a gift
to his relative in HCM City. The woman was sure the gift package contained
CDs and some clothes and put it into her luggage. At Tan Son Nhat
International Airport, the customs officers seized the gift package after
discovering cocaine hidden inside.

In the last five years, the airport’s
Customs Sub-Department had detected and arrested 52 suspects (including 32
women, 19 of whom are Vietnamese nationals and 13 foreigners) on charges of
illegal transport of drugs.

Most of the offenders were seduced and
deceived by various tricks to transport drugs for African drug rings. “We
are very concerned about this issue and determined to tighten the management,”
Hung said.-VNA



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