Xaysana Keopimpha, the man said to be one of Southeast Asia’s biggest drug lords, was on Tuesday (March 20) sentenced to life imprisonment for drug trafficking.
The 43-year-old Laotian business tycoon was charged of trafficking around 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from Laos to sell in Thailand in September 2016.
He confessed to the charges during the police inquiry process but later denied the charges in court.
At today’s trial, the Criminal Court ruled him guilty and handed him death sentence.
But the death sentence was commuted to life sentence after his confession during the police inquiry process was useful to the trial, according to the court.
Xaysana was arrested on Jan 19 last year at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport following a five-year investigation and a tip from Laos officials.
Xaysana led a flamboyant lifestyle prior to his arrest, hanging out with Thai celebrities and a soap opera star, according to reports. Lao authorities seized his assets including nine luxury vehicles, five houses and a 475-acre rubber plantation.
Xaysana, or “Mr X”, 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.