VietNamNet Bridge – It looks peaceful but Na U village in the northern mountain province of Dien Bien is a trouble-spot that receives drugs from Laos.
“Burning” Na U
Lo Thi Thu, 35, from Thanh Hung commune, Dien Bien Phu,
who was arrested on March 19 2011 for drug trading.
Na U is a border commune of Dien Bien district, Dien Bien province, with 234 families, totaling 1,396 residents, all of them are Mong ethnic people.
The commune comprises of six villages: Na U, Hua Thanh, Con Cang, Ca Hau, Na Lay and Pung Bua. The most remote village is more than 9km from the commune’s center. The remaining villages are located along National Highway 279 and very near the border gate between Vietnam and Laos. Na U commune’s center is located in Na U village, several kilometers from the border post.
Na U commune’s economy focuses on wet rice, upland rice, maize and animal husbandry. The rate of poor households is 34 percent. According to the local authorities, the remaining 66 percent are average and well-off families. Actually, many families are very rich, thanks to drug trading.
In recent years, over 20 people in Na U commune have been sentenced to death for trading, transporting and storing narcotics. At present, 13 people are being hunted, dozens of people are in jail, including many with life-sentences for drug-related crimes. This small, remote commune also has nearly 50 drug addicts and 23 with previous convictions and offences.
In Ca Hau village, Mrs. Dia has four children but two of them were sentenced to death and two others are in jail. Mr. Vua Gia Tri has one child who was sentenced to death, two others in jail and two daughters-in-law also in jail. Mr. Tri and his wife have to take care of seven grandchildren.
Ca Hau is a hot-spot since almost all families there have connection with drug trading. Even officials were drug traders, for example Va Chai Cai, former Chairman of Na U Commune People’s Committee and Vu A Tenh, Chairman of the Fatherland Front of Na U Commune.
Vice Party Secretary of Na U commune, Vu Va Tong said that local people can live very well if they work hard but the huge profit from drug trading has enchanted many people.
It is said that the price for a pack of heroin (350gr) is US$5,000-6,000 in Laos. The price will be $9,000 at Vietnam’s border and over $11,000 in Hanoi. Drug traders can double the profit by mix heroin with additives.
Some drug traders traffick dozens of heroin packs at once, which can turn them into billionaires if they are not detected by police.
The local government has tried its best to educate and call for local people to not trade and traffic drugs but the situation has not been improved.
Hardships at Tay Trang border post
The border post of the Tay Trang international border gate is in charge of keeping security at Na U commune and the 24km Vietnam-Laos border.
In the past 20 years, drug-related crime has been always a big problem in this region. Drugs are often transported from Pang Hoc, Sanh A and Sanh B villages in Muong May district, Phong Xa Ly province in Laos.
Tay Trang border post has cooperated with Laos police to arrest many drug traders in Laos and Vietnam. Since October 2010, the border post has detected four drug-related cases, arresting four drug traffickers.
According to border guards, Na U is considered as a poor border commune but there are over ten BMW X6 cars (worth hundreds of thousands of USD/car) in the commune of over 1,000 residents. Teens also have expensive motorbikes and use fashionable cell phones like Iphone. These things are believed to come from drug trading.
Border guards said that drug traders employ every way to traffic drugs. They often use plain clothed and uneducated ethnic minority people to transport drugs from Laos to Vietnam.
At Tay Trang border post, most of guards are very young but they have worked here for many years and they are very experienced at struggling with drug traders. They are always busy and face danger because this area is a trouble-spot with drug trading, illegal border-crossing, smuggling, etc.
Source: Tien Phong