Hanoi – Vietnam has busted the country’s largest ever drug ring, state media reported on Friday, and confiscated 8.8 million dollars worth of the recreational drug crystal Methylenedioxy Methamphetamine (MDMA), popularly known as ecstasy.
“Over 20 people were detained in raids on 13 drug labs on Thursday by Ho Chi Minh City police,’’ the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Police seized 500,000 ecstasy tablets, 120 kg of drug powder, 10 billion Vietnamese dong (440,000 dollars) in cash and seven cars.
Suspected drug ring leader Van Kinh Duong, 36, was imprisoned in 2008 for drug possession before escaping and starting his own drug production ring with his relatives.
He established a network spanning Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and provincial centres mostly in southern Vietnam, under a fake name, before being recaptured in April.
According to the report, about 200,000 pills purportedly containing MDMA have been sold by the ring since early 2016.
Vietnam has some of the world’s strictest drug laws, with those convicted of producing or selling over 300 g illegal narcotics facing the death penalty.