High-flying Laotian drug lord gets life in jail

THE Ratchadapisek Criminal Court  this morning (March 20) sentenced one of Southeast Asia’s biggest drug lords, Mr Xaysana Keopimpha, or Mr X, 42, to life in jail after finding him guilty of possessing an trafficking amphetamine pills, the Thai-language daily Matichon reported.

In sentencing the high-profile drug lord at 9.30 a.m., the Criminal Court said the defendant had been found guilty of ganging up and trafficking and possessing amphetamine pills.

On Sept 30, 2016 members of the defendant’s gang who have been arrested and charged, with many others still on the run together, smuggled 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from Laos to Thailand with the drug hidden in the false roof of a car but they were caught at Nongkhai checkpoint.

Police expanded their investigation and later arrested another group of suspects and on January 19, 2017 arrested the defendant.

According to Asiancorrespondent.com, following his arrest at the Suvarnabhumi Airport on Jan 19, 2017 Xaysana, or “Mr X” as he is more commonly known, has become the subject of wide media fascination across the region.

Authorities have since worked to uncover a vast narcotics cross-border network that spans Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

With Xaysana’s arrest, Thai and Laotian police seized 74 items, including two residences, 14 land titles, 14 luxury cars, 11 motorbikes, two farm vehicles, 29 bank accounts, gold jewelry and cash in US dollars and Thai baht equaling 1.5 billion (US$42,000). The total haul was valued at roughly 100 million baht (US$2.8 million).

Xaysana’s trips to Thailand also showed lavish stays in luxury hotels and prior to his arrest, the alleged kingpin is believed to have met with clients from his so-called network.

The authorities also believe members of his drug ring number within the hundreds and that the network has links to international mafia groups and triads.

In February 2017, Malaysian police arrested a local man, Kamarudin Awang, suspected of being a major drug dealer linked to Xaysana’s network.

According to Kamaruddin Xaysana is believed to be the son-in-law of Marining Jako, the leader of a drug network that sourced contraband from the North and Northeast of Thailand. Thai police had been monitoring Kamaruddin for more than five years prior to his arrest.

Xaysana’s network purportedly involves several Thai celebrities and elites said to have laundered money for him.


Top: Xaysana, or Mr X, has been sentenced to life in jail. Photos: Matichon