On Tuesday, notorious Lao drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha, aka Vanlob, appeared before the Criminal Court in Bangkok where he plead not guilty to charges filed against him, including smuggling and possession of narcotics.
As previously reported by The Laotian Times, Xaysana was apprehended by Thai police at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in January after returning from Phuket. The alleged international kingpin has been linked to several of Thailand’s rich and high-profiled but has consistently denied being a major player in the regional narcotics trade.
Vanlob has a slew of charges filed against him, including smuggling 1.2 million methamphetamine pills— widely known in Laos as “yaba” or crazy medicine, into Thailand, and possession with intent to sell.
His lawyer, Vorakon Phongtanakul, has stated that Xaysana has denied all charges being brought against him, even though his client had allegedly signed a confession while in police custody.
While being questioned by authorities, Vanlob had initially confessed to involvement in the illicit activity that occurred in Laos, the Nong Khai immigration checkpoint and various other locations. However, after the indictment he denied all charges made by the prosecution .
“He didn’t understand Thai laws and officials told him he could change his plea at court,” Vorakon stated.
If Xaysana is found guilty under Thai law, the kingpin could be facing the death penalty, although the country has not seen an execution for any crime since 2009.
A pre-trial examination of evidence has been set by the Criminal Court for June 19th at 9am.
The Golden Triangle- where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Southern China all meet- has been deemed the world’s second largest drug-producing region. Latin America ranks as number one.