The most senior police officer involved in the country's biggest drug trial could today walk free while his suicidal underling - and smuggling kingpin - has demanded a swift execution. As judges retired to consider verdicts, former captain Vu Xuan Truong vowed to accept his certain death sentence but called for tough measures against other officers who shared his 'dirty money'. 'I ask the judges only for my execution to be carried out quickly,' Truong, shackled in prison fatigues, told the court, sources confirmed. 'There has been no injustice for me,' he added, calling for judges to spare the lives of his wife and brother. The fate of the first batch of 22 defendants - half of whom are police or border guards - will be announced behind closed doors at the Hanoi People's Court today. Truong, who rose to a senior post in the Interior Ministry's anti-crime squad while building a vast heroin network, is under close watch by doctors and guards after a string of suicide attempts. As he and possibly seven others face execution by firing squad, Colonel Vu Ban has denied protecting Truong as he doctored investigations into his longtime partner, Laotian Sieng Pheng. Colonel Ban, who heads a leading economic investigation section and is the highest-ranked official involved, blamed 'mistakes' on underlings. A team of lawyers and senior officials have claimed his efforts marked nothing more sinister than sloppy paper work. It was still possible he could face extra hearings and more lenient administrative punishments, court sources said. The mishandling of the files allowed Pheng to be freed so he could mount three more drug runs across Vietnam's northern mountains. Pheng's confessions before a firing squad last July exposed unprecedented Interior Ministry links to the ring responsible for smuggling an estimated 300 kilograms of heroin via Laos. The Interior Ministry remains widely feared despite the country's reforms as it seeks to protect Communist Party rule amid new open-door policies. Foreign diplomats believe it remains one of the most powerful and highly effective secret police forces anywhere. About 40 people face a range of punishments as investigations continue, spreading outrage at the scale of police involvement. 'No matter where they might work . . . if they are involved in drug trafficking or storage they must be punished, harshly punished,' Communist Party chief Do Muoi said.