|Ta Anh Tuan (R) and Nguyen Hong Quan stands in court in Hanoi for drug smuggling charges on Wednesday. Photo by VnExpress
According to the prosecutors, Ta Anh Tuan, 41, confessed that he was hired to transport the drugs from Son La Province near the Laos border to Hanoi, around 400 kilometers (248 miles) to the west, for VND120 million (US$5,300) and he asked his friend Nguyen Hong Quan, 36, to join.
Having worked as drivers, Quan and Tuan rented a car to transport the drugs on their own. On December 4, 2017, they drove to Son La and received a bag of 15.5 kilograms of heroin and around half a kilo of methamphetamine worth a total of VND7 billion (US$307,000).
Police in Hanoi's Ba Vi District arrested them early the next morning after inspecting their car.
Tuan confessed that he had accepted to transport heroin for a man named Tho, but he had not been paid. Quan denied any involvement, saying he was just Tuan's driver.
The court rejected Quan’s contention and found both the accused guilty of drug trafficking.
It reserved sentence on Tho, about whom further information has not been revealed.
Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face the death penalty. The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.