Thailand has decided to uphold a sentence of life imprisonment for Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha, charged with smuggling 1.2 million methamphetamine pills, locally known as ya ba, into the country in 2016.
The Thai Court of Appeal found that Mr. Xaysana had arranged for the drugs to be smuggled from Laos and for a vehicle with a false compartment in the roof to conceal them.
Bangkok Post quoted the court ruling as saying that Mr. Xaysna must serve his term in Thailand since the smuggling attempt was aimed there, although it happened outside the country.
The court also dismissed Mr. Xaysana’s appeal that Thai authorities had misunderstood him, possibly due to a wrong translation between the Thai and Lao languages.
Mr. Xaysana has been linked to several of Thailand’s rich and high-profile but has consistently denied being a major player in the regional narcotics trade.
According to the indictment filed in April, Mr. Xaysana and six other then-alleged accomplices conspired in September 2016 to smuggle 1.2 million speed pills into Thailand from Laos through the Nong Khai border checkpoint.
At that time, it was speculated that members of the drug ring were going to transfer the pills to other members in Mr. Xaysana’s network in southern Thailand, who were then going to attempt to smuggle them into Malaysia.
Police arrested several members of the network who were identified to be in possession of the drugs in October 2016.