Notorious Lao drug baron, Xaysana Keopimpha, has plead not guilty to smuggling 1.2 million methamphetamine pills into Thailand last September.
As previously reported by The Laotian Times, the 42 -year-old Lao national was arrested by Thai police at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in January and had plead not guilty to all charges brought against him in April. 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.
On Monday, the accused drug lord continued to deny all charges before the Criminal Court in Bangkok, where the pre-trial examination of the case’s evidence was held. Mr Xaysana is charged with colluding to import a Type-1 drug and possessing drugs with the intent to sell, though he maintains that he has nothing to do with the 1.2 million ‘ya ba’ pills that were caught being smuggled into Thailand.
Prosecutors on Monday submitted evidence to the court, claiming that 9 witnesses were prepared to testify, including investigators, intelligence officers and a detainee at a prison, who implicated the king pin himself.
According to the indictment filed in April, on September 30, 2016 Mr Xaysana and six other alleged accomplices conspired to smuggle 1.2 million ya ba pills into Thailand from Laos through the Nong Khai border checkpoint.
It is speculated that members of the drug ring were going to transfer the pills to other members in Mr Xaysana’s network in the south of Thailand, who were then going to attempt to smuggle the drugs into Malaysia.
Police arrested several members of the network who were identified to be in possession of the drugs on October 1, 2016. After a thorough investigation, Mr Xaysana was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on arrival from Phuket on January 19, 2017.
The court has scheduled the first hearing for February 13, 2018.
More as this story develops.