Laos ‘drug kingpin’ denies Thai smuggling charges


BANGKOK: An alleged Laos drug lord linked to some of Thailand’s rich and famous denied being a major player in the regional narcotics trade when he appeared in a Bangkok court Tuesday. Xaysana Keopimpha, 42, was nabbed by Thai police on his way through Bangkok’s main airport in January, shining a rare spotlight on communist Laos’ shadowy role in the Southeast Asian pill trade. Narcotics cops alleged he was an “international drug kingpin” and trumpeted his capture in a part of the world where major cartel figures are not big names in criminal folklore and are rarely caught. The heavy-set Xaysana faces a string of charges including drug smuggling and possession—mainly of methamphetamine, which is known in Thai as “yaba” or crazy medicine for its effect on addicts.



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