Pellets of compressed cocaine seized from a Senegalese man at Tan Son Nhat Airport, HCMC, August 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of Ho Chi Minh City Customs.
A Senegalese man was arrested at HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport with 77 pellets of compressed cocaine in his digestive system.
Following his arrival on a flight from Thailand, customs officers and anti-drug police forces on duty at the airport spotted the 39-year-old man acting suspiciously last Saturday.
When he was stopped for inspection, he made a ruckus and refused to cooperate with the police.
Later, he was restrained and his body screened. Images showed that a strange object in his stomach that officials suspected was narcotics.
The suspect was taken to the hospital where doctors used medical measures to take the cocaine pellets weighing around 1.6 kilograms (three pounds) worth VND10 billion ($431,000) out of his stomach.
Initial investigations show that he flew from Nigeria to Ethiopia, and then transited through Thailand before arriving in Vietnam. He is believed to have swallowed the cocaine pellets and passed security screenings in all three countries before being caught at Tan Son Nhat.
Customs officers are cooperating with the Ministry of Public Security in investigating the case further.
Phan Anh Minh, deputy director of the HCMC Police Department, is on record as saying the city has become an increasingly used transit point for drugs because of its well connected roads, marine and air transport services.
Furthermore, drug trafficking and drug abuse has continued to flourish in Vietnam despite the country having 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 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.