Death sentence of Lao drug lord “Mr X” commuted to life

PHOTO: Xaysana "Mr. X" Keopimpha - Thai PBS World

Bangkok’s Criminal Court handed down life imprisonment to Laotian drug ring leader Xaysana “Mr. X” Keopimpha, on charges of smuggling 1.2 million methamphetamine pills, known as “yaba,” into Thailand. He was initially sentenced to death, and the sentence was upheld by a lower court in December, but the penalty was commuted to life imprisonment because he cooperated with the court.

The Thai Court of Appeals found that Xaysana arranged for the drugs to be smuggled from Laos in a vehicle with a false roof compartment. That court ruled Xaysana must serve his time in Thailand since the smuggling attempt was aimed at harming Thai citizens.

He was taken to hear the judgment from the Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts, where he’s been detained since he was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport in January 2017, arriving on a flight from Phuket.

Police captured some members of his network in Oct0ber 2016, after seizing 1.2 million yaba pills smuggled into Thailand through Nong Khai at the Lao border a day earlier. It was thought the drugs were being trafficked to southern Thailand for smuggling to Malaysia when seized. The subsequent expanded investigation led to Xaysana’s capture.

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Xaysana has often been linked to Thailand’s wealthy elite, but has always denied being a major player in the regional drug trade.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | The Thaiger

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