Vietnam police bust massive $3m meth haul

Vietnam police discovered a massive haul of suspected methamphetamine worth an estimated $3m after pulling over a speeding truck, authorities said on Tuesday, the latest major bust in a country where synthetic drug use is on the rise.

Two men managed to escape the scene but one of them who was arrested later, a Laotian, said he was promised $10 000 to deliver the drugs to Danang city, a tourist hub on Vietnam's central coast.

Police are still searching for the second suspect who is a Vietnamese national, an officer told AFP on Tuesday.

"We found 12 green bags containing small packets of a white substance weighing a total of 309kg," the officer said.

Though Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world, it is a popular transport hub and destination market for narcotics smuggled in from the notorious "Golden Triangle" lawless border zone that straddles Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

Opium and heroin have long been the drug of choice among older users, but young people are increasingly turning to lab-made pills and powders such as Ecstasy, ketamine and meth.

Many synthetic drugs enter Vietnam from neighbouring countries, though police in recent months have busted several local labs.

There are 220 000 registered drug users in the country, according to official data, and the use of synthetic substances rose seven percent between 2001 and 2016.

Officials and advocates have warned against the dangers of drug use after seven Vietnamese people died from overdoses at an electronic music festival in Hanoi last month.

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