Hanoi, Vietnam — A court in central Vietnam sentenced five people to death for drug trafficking on Friday, according to the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper.
A total of six suspects were found guilty by the court in the province of Nghe An, five of which received the death penalty, including four women. The other was sentenced to life in prison.
The six were convicted on charges of trafficking 89 kilogrammes (196 pounds) of heroin from neighboring Laos between March and July of last year, when the ring was uncovered, Thanh Nien reported.
Court officials were unavailable Saturday for comment on the cases.
The Communist government decided in 2011 to switch from firing squads to lethal injection on humanitarian grounds.
However, in August 2013 the first prisoner in two years was executed due to Vietnam’s difficulty in obtaining the needed chemicals for the injections, said reports.
A total of seven people have been executed since that first one in August.
Nearly 700 people are currently on death row in Vietnam’s prisons, according to reports. Of these, well over 100 have met all the criteria for immediate execution.
The country of Vietnam has enacted some of the strictest drug laws in Asia.
Anyone convicted of smuggling more than 100 grammes of heroin or cocaine can be sentenced to death under the laws. Foreigners are often arrested on drug charges in Vietnam.