The 23-members of the ring were attempting to traffic nearly half a ton of heroin.
A court in Vietnam sentenced nine drug smugglers to death on Tuesday after they were caught trying to traffic nearly half a ton of heroin between Laos, Vietnam and China back in 2015.
In total, 23 people were found guilty of drug trafficking at the trial, which was held in the northern province of Hoa Binh. Nine received the maximum penalty, a further nine were given life sentences, four received 17-20 years in prison and a woman was given 18 months for failure to denounce the crimes.
The defendants were also accused of illegal possession of military weapons and harboring criminals.
The case centered on Tran Duc Duy, 33, the leader of the network that trafficked more than 1,400 packs of heroin weighing nearly half a ton. Duy was arrested in 2015 while driving a truck carrying 33 kilograms of heroin. An investigation led to the arrests of a further 22 members of the ring.
Vietnam 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 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.