A Laotian man, dubbed the 'Asean Drug Lord' for allegedly orchestrating a network spanning the South East Asian region, including Malaysia and Singapore, was arrested by the Thai police recently in a sting operation at the busy Suvarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok.
The 42-year-old suspect Xayasana Keopimpha was surrounded by policemen and nabbed in full view of hundreds of travellers when he arrived at the airport from Phuket.
Three Thai nationals believed to be his accomplices were also arrested in follow-up operations, where authorities also seized 14 land plots, 14 luxury cars, gold accessories and cash money totalling 100 million Thai Baht (S$40 million).
An investigation by the Thai authorities into the Laotian's alleged drug ring found that it was a major source of narcotics distribution throughout the ASEAN region. The Thai police made their 'breakthrough' into the Laotian's whereabouts following the seizure of five million methamphetamine pills last year.
Thai National Police Deputy Chief, General Chalermkiat Srivorakarn,said,“The Laotian's arrest was the result of more than five years of painstaking police investigations into the suspect's network.”
Meanwhile, Narcotics Suppression Bureau Commissioner Sommai Kongwisaisuk,said, “ The Laotian's drug network paralleled two other international Laotian drug kingpins. The initial investigations revealed the Laotian drug lord owned various businesses, including in hotels, sawmills and luxury car dealership in Laos.
He further added, "Officials will do their best to locate and seize the drug network's hidden drug-related assets. We will consolidate asset-confiscating efforts. We have to stop their financial resources.”