Lao drug lord again escapes death, jailed for life

THE Ratchadapisek Criminal Court this morning (Sept 26, 2018) sentenced one of Southeast Asia’s biggest drug lords, Xaysana Keopimpha, or Mr X, 42, to death after finding him guilty of possessing and trafficking methamphetamine pills, but this was commuted to life imprisonment because of his useful testimony, reported.

The second defendant in this case, Mr Chomporn Phanomphrai, also had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, but the case against the third defendant, Mr Ratchapol Ratsompholphakorn or Kimleng, was dismissed.

They were accused of smuggling 2,381,400 methamphetamine pills, or yaba, for sale to their networks in Thailand and Malaysia together with many other suspects who have not been arrested yet from July 24, 2016 to September 16, 2016.

The three of them were also accused to smuggling 1 million meth pills for delivery to their network in southern Thailand during August 17-22, 2016 after contacting Mr Sainoden Ma in Malaysia.

Drug lord Xaysana

The court said there was not enough evidence to verify that the 3 defendants had the 2,381,400 meth pills for sale in their possession.

However the court said there was sufficient evidence to confirm that the 1st and 2nd defendants ordered that a vehicle be obtained to send the 1 million meth pills to the south.

The court also said that there was not enough evidence to prove that the 3rd defendant handled drug financial transactions in Malaysia and Laos, and the case against him was dismissed.

In March this year Xaysana was found  guilty of possessing and trafficking 1.2 million meth pills from Laos to Thailand with the drug having been found hidden in the false roof of a car.

According to a South China Morning Post report published in March this year, Xaysana, a swaggering Laotian who before his arrest paraded his celebrity links and penchant for sports cars on social media, was picked up at Bangkok’s main airport in January last year.

He was accused of being a kingpin in a meth smuggling ring that funneled tons of Myanmar made ‘yaba’ pills and ice – crystal meth – through communist Laos and into Thailand.

The Laos route south is increasingly used by trafficking gangs keen to reach markets in Thailand, Malaysia and as far as Australia and Japan – where the price of the drug steepens.

Details of Xaysana’s colorful life unspooled after his arrest last year.

Investigators say he boasted a contacts book stuffed with the rich and powerful, including Thai celebrities, who may have helped shield his narcotics cartel.

According to Thai police, Bangkok and its surrounding suburbs offered crucial hideaways and protection for the drug syndicate, with high-end car dealers and celebrities helping to launder Xaysana’s profits.


Top: Xaysana being taken to court to hear his verdict today. Photo:

In-text: A composite photo of Xaysana. Photo:  Matichon