Three members of a drug smuggling ring were sentenced to death for smuggling heroin and opium into Vietnam from Laos, a court official said Thursday. Ringleader Ha Sy Que, Lo Van Han and Lo Van Tuyen will all face the firing squad, said Nguyen Van Huy, an officer from the Nghe An provincial people's court.
Six other members of the gang received life imprisonment, while nine more were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 13 to 20 years each Wednesday at the end of a three-day trial, Huy said. The gang was convicted of smuggling 17.82 kilograms (39.29 pounds) of heroin and 34.65 kilograms (76.39 pounds) of opium from Laos into northern Nghe An province since 2002, and distributing the drugs across the country. The convicted men have 15 days to appeal.
Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Possessing, trading or trafficking more than 600 grams (1.32 pounds) of heroin or 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of opium are punishable by death. About 100 people are sentenced to face firing squads in Vietnam each year for drug-related offenses, reports the AP. I.L.