A court in Vietnam on Friday sentenced 12 local people to death in the biggest-ever transnational drug trafficking case in the country's northern Quang Ninh province, Vietnam News Agency reported.
At the end of a five-day trial, the People's Court of Quang Ninh also handed down life sentences to eight people and jail terms of combined 156 years and a half to nine others.
The transnational drug trafficking ring led by a Vietnamese man named Can Viet Phuong from northern Ha Tay province traded a total of 144 cakes (50.4 kg) of heroin in the country and China from 2003 to mid-2006 when it was uncovered.
Vietnamese police detected 9,891 cases of drug-related crimes in 2006, down 19 percent from 2005. It, as of late 2006, had a total of 160,226 drug addicts, over 70 percent of whom are in the age bracket of 18-35, according to statistics from the country's Ministry of Public Security.
Under Vietnam's laws, anyone possessing, trading or trafficking heroin of 600 grams or above can be sentenced to death or life in prison.