A total of 13 people were sentenced to death in two separate trials for drug offenses in the Vietnamese provinces of Ha Nam and Cao Bang last Friday.

At the Ha Nam court, nine drug ringleaders were handed the death penalty for dealing in 18.5 kilograms of heroin and 563 grams of methamphetamine, VN Express reported. Thirteen others in this trial were sentenced to prison, with terms ranging from seven years to life.

According to court documents, this group of defendants had been dealing drugs at the Laos border between June 2016 and March 2017.

In the Cao Bang case, four men were given the death penalty for having dealt with more than 13kg of heroin. Two accomplices were sentenced to 20 years in prison. They were reportedly apprehended in December last year.

Vietnam has some of the harshest laws against illicit narcotics in the world. Suspects who are convicted of possession, smuggling, production and sale of heroin or methamphetamine can be given the death penalty, depending on the volume of the drugs involved.