The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sentenced
Friday eight people to death and nine others to life terms for smuggling 78 kg
of heroin in what is considered the largest drugs case in southern Vietnam.
Mastermind Tran Xuan Ha, a 24-year-old college student, and some of his relatives got the death penalty.
Three others got 20 years each while a dozen others got jail terms ranging from 5 to 20 years.
The court also fined the traffickers between US$312 and 31,250 after a weeklong trial.
Earlier, Ha had announced calmly in court Wednesday that he wished to donate his internal organs to the poor.
The ring had smuggled 78 kilograms (172 pounds) of heroin or from Laos and Cambodia to Vietnam between 2003 until they were arrested in April last year.
Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world. Possessing, trading or trafficking 600 grams (1.32 pounds) of heroin or 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of opium is punishable by death.
It sends about 100 people before the firing squad for drug-related offenses each year.
Ha, hailing from central Nghe An province, was a freshman at a HCMC college when he was arrested.
Reported by Minh Thuan – Translated by Hoang Bao