Vietnam sentences 5 to death for heroin trafficking

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A court in central Vietnam has sentenced five people, including four women, to death and another to life in prison for trafficking heroin from neighboring Laos.

The six were found guilty Friday by the court in Nghe An province on charges of trafficking 89 kilograms (196 pounds) of heroin between March and July last year, when the ring was uncovered, the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

Court officials were not available for comment Saturday.

In 2011, the Communist country decided to switch from firing squads to lethal injection on humanitarian grounds, but only seven convicts have been executed since August as Vietnam struggled to obtain needed chemicals.

There are currently nearly 700 people on the death row in Vietnam.