Police said they killed two major drug lords in the northern province of Son La on Thursday during a two-day raid that involved hundreds of officers and many armored vehicles.
The police tanks showed up at a village in Long Luong Commune in the province on Wednesday morning to break down a major operation that trafficked drugs from Laos via Vietnam to a third country.
The ring was allegedly led by Nguyen Thanh Tuan and Nguyen Van Thuan, who were deemed "especially serious criminals" and wanted for the trafficking of 890 kilograms of heroin, police said.
Both were shot and killed on Thursday afternoon after police spent hours persuading them to give themselves up. Many big explosions were heard and some houses collapsed.
More than 200 armed officers in armors were seen at the site. They have arrested three members of the operation, seized grenades, guns and hundreds of bullets.
Police said the two drug lords had built tunnels for hiding and were protected by gunmen and advanced firearms, making it a challenge to approach them.
The raid was part of a special narcotics mission by the Ministry of Public Security.
According to the ministry’s statistics, Long Luong in Son La, which borders Laos and is four hours west of Hanoi, is serving as the hideouts of more than 60 wanted drug criminals.
Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics in and around the “Golden Triangle,” a lawless wedge of land that intersects China, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and is the world's second-largest drug-producing region.
The country has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamines 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.
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