A joint anti-drug effort by Chinese and Vietnamese authorities has busted a transnational heroin smuggling ring with the arrest of a wanted ringleader and his accomplices, China’s Public Security Ministry said on Thursday.

Chinese authorities shared intelligence with Vietnamese officials after Vietnam’s director of Public Security Hu Jin paid a visit in early May.

A series of joint operations in following weeks resulted in more than 420 cases and the arrest of 483 suspects — 41 of them identified as Vietnamese nationals, the China News Service reported, citing An Guojun, a senior Chinese security official.

More than a quarter of a ton of narcotics (263 kilograms) such as heroin and stimulants were confiscated and a fugitive named Wei Wenshi, who was wanted by Vietnamese police, was also apprehended.

In July last year, the Public Security Department in Chongzuo City, Guangxi received a tip-off that a Guangxi man surnamed Gan was in cahoots with a Vietnamese dealer named Wei to smuggle drugs from Vietnam to the Pingxiang region for sale in China.

After eight months of surveillance and investigation, Chinese police arrested Gan in Pingxiang City and seized 49kg of heroin. Another 21 drug dealers there later arrested in Pingxiang, Dongxing and Qinzhou and a further 43kg of heroin confiscated by Chinese police.

The Chinese crackdown paved the way for the arrest of drug dealers in Vietnam.

On July 21 Wei was arrested in Huangmei in Vietnam’s Nghe An province. Some 59 units of heroin were taken and the transnational drug ring destroyed.