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Nov 05, 2020 / 17:00

Vietnam, US cooperate to extradite American fugitives

It took Vietnam's police a month to track down a fugitive before arresting him.

Vietnamese and US law enforcement authorities have coordinated the capture and return of two American citizen fugitives who were arrested this month based on US federal arrest warrants, the US Embassy in Hanoi said Thursday.

 An American fugitive is escorted to a special aircraft at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi on October 23, 2020. Photo: Quyet Nguyen

The fugitives, who were located in Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau city, were charged in the US on ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and on a top ten most wanted list in the US state of Arizona and charged for drug manufacturing, distribution, purchase, and possession by the US state of South Carolina.

Both subjects fled the US, initiating international fugitive investigations.

The US Marshals Service, US Homeland Security Investigations, the Diplomatic Security Service, Criminal Investigative Liaison Branch in Washington, DC, and the Office of Overseas Criminal Investigations at the US Embassy in Hanoi coordinated with the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (MPS)’s Office of Police Investigation Agency, who after months of investigative work, located and arrested the fugitives in Ho Chi Minh City and beach city Vung Tau near HCM City.

On October 23, 2020, both fugitives departed Vietnam for the US under US Marshals Service escort.

Both fugitives are now being held in confinement in the US state of California until they face pending charges in US courts.

The removal of these fugitives involved complex measures necessary to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The US Marshals Service chartered a private plane from the US to land at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi after ensuring all crew members tested negative for Covid-19.

Vietnamese officials confirmed negative test results from both fugitives before the transfer.

Per rules set by the Vietnamese government, US law enforcement officials from the US embassy wore personal protective equipment during the transfer of prisoners on the airfield.

“The capture of these two fugitives, which required the close coordination of US and Vietnamese law enforcement professionals, further demonstrates how our two nations are strong partners in every field imaginable,” said Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink.

The US Mission to Vietnam and the MPS continue their longstanding cooperation on police investigations to thwart transnational crime and apprehend fugitives of justice.

On multiple occasions over the past several years, US and Vietnamese law enforcement officials have partnered to bring Vietnamese and US fugitives to justice in their respective home countries.

As of July 2019, Vietnam had been signatory of 22 international treaties on extradition, 11 mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT) and 12 bilateral treaties on extradition.

The Ministry of Public Security has been proposed the National Assembly soon enact a law on extradition basing on Law on Mutual Legal Assistance passed in 2007.