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Cablegate: Vietnam's Biggest Ever Seizure of Marijuana

VZCZCXRO5984
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0581 1370927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160927Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7846
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4738
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7123
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0898
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0522
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0102
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HANOI 000581

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM SOCI CH PK VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM'S BIGGEST EVER SEIZURE OF MARIJUANA

1. Summary. The May 13 seizure of eight tons of marijuana resin by
GVN authorities was the biggest such seizure ever in Vietnam. The
drugs were found in two shipping containers transiting Mong Cai
border gate in the Northeastern province of Quang Ninh into China.
The shipment originated in Pakistan and had entered Vietnam at the
Port of Haiphong. In order to carry out the seizure, given its
scale and complexity, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS)
established a special interagency task force to handle the case,
including coordination with other countries. The seizure highlights
the resourcefulness of drug traffickers and the fact that
international counternarcotics efforts are only as effective as
their weakest link. INL-funded Contraband Enforcement Training was
held in Haiphong last year and may have contributed to this
successful outcome. End Summary

Drugs Destined for China
------------------------

2. On May 13, MPS Counternarcotics Police (C17), Quang Ninh
Provincial police, sea police and customs forces seized eight tons
of marijuana resin (aka hashish or concentrated marijuana) and
arrested five trafficking suspects carrying Chinese and Indonesian
passports. The two drug-laden containers had been unloaded at the
Port of Haiphong and were en route to China overland when they were
seized at the Vietnam-China border crossing at Mong Cai in Quang
Ninh province. According to press reports, the cargo was declared
as jeans originating from Pakistan and the intended destinations
were China and Canada. Colonel Nguyen Anh Tuan, C17 Director, said
the seizure resulted from "suspicion about a huge trafficking
ring."

Biggest Ever Transnational Seizure
----------------------------------

3. Vietnamese press characterized the bust as "striking a blow
against the mafia world," and as the biggest drug seizure ever made
by GVN law enforcement agencies. Given the scale and complexity of
the operation, MPS Minister Le Hong Anh established a special task
force headed by MPS Vice Minister Le The Tiem to work with the
concerned countries in order to crack down on this trafficking
ring.

Comment
-------

4. The incident highlights for GVN officials the increasing threat
posed by international drug traffickers, and not only from the
Golden Triangle. Limited GVN counternarcotics enforcement capacity
combined with opportunistic traffickers make such drug trafficking
cases a growing challenge for the GVN. The rapidly increasing
amount of cargo passing through Vietnamese ports is not matched by
increased resources for container inspection. Although details
about the role of Haiphong and Quang Ninh Customs officials in the
bust remain unavailable, INL-funded Contraband Enforcement Training
conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel in
Haiphong in August 2007 provided training to these frontline
officials that would have been directly relevant to this drug
seizure. We expect that future training and equipment assistance
provided by INL and other USG programs will further build the GVN's
capacity to combat multinational drug trafficking.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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